The monthly online
magazine for all
catering professionals
Essentially Catering Magazine

Catering news - For this month's news - View magazine »

Innovative promotions keep US consumers eating out

In a world where UK trends often reflect those occurring on the other side of the pond, it is worth noting how American foodservice operators are managing to keep customers eating at their establishments.

Take-out meals for free, courses for the dog, loyalty programmes, starters served as main course and sharing platters are just some of the promotions that our US cousins are running to boost flagging sales.

"Like the UK, the American eating-out market is suffering severely," commented Horizons' managing director Peter Backman*. "Feedback from US restaurant chains demonstrates that, as in the UK, eating out on a whim is no longer happening and the corporate expense account has gone into hibernation.

"But across the board there seem to be some major changes in the food being eaten in restaurants. For example, operators are moving their appetisers to become main courses, without changing the price, advertising ‘pay less for the same great food'. Restaurant chain Applebee's now offers what was an appetiser of three mini-burgers as a starter. The 80-strong Daphne's Greek Café chain has recently reduced the price of a popular soup from $3.19 to $1 when ordered with a main course. When the offer was launched sales are said to have jumped 10-fold. Einstein Bros Bagels, which has over 300 units across 30 states, has introduced a ‘doggy bagel' for $1 to attract pet owners!"

Along with clever price promotions, there is also evidence that the type of foods being ordered by American consumers is beginning to change. One overwhelming trend is that of smaller, sharing portions such as bite-sized mini-desserts, small plates of starters such as tapas, dim sum or mezze, mini-burgers as starters, amuse-bouche being ordered rather than more formal appetisers, plates of combo salads, Asian-style appetisers and more unusual items such as drinkable desserts or savoury desserts.

"These trends show that consumers are responding to the economic downturn and the requirement to eat more healthily by choosing different foods on the menus," adds Backman. "Operators I have spoken to report that consumers are remaining loyal to outlets that offer value, and that's not just about lower prices."

www.horizonsforsuccess.com

* Peter Backman is the managing director of Horizons, the analyst and specialist information consultant for the foodservice and hospitality sector.

Your feedback is important to us – please comment any time. Leave feedback »

Previous issues - For latest news & articles view this month's magazine »

Inside this issue

Sign up for more

Sign up today and get Essentially
Catering Magazine delivered every
month to your inbox.

You’ll also get:

  • Weekly news updates
  • Exclusive catering product offers
Sign up »
Advertisement BB Foodservice
Follow Essentially Catering Magazine on Twitter

Essentially Catering @MagazineEC 19 MAY

RT @ChefGruel: When the shutdown ends, I’m inviting everyone who retweets this to my chicken concept Two Birds. Double birds on me. https:/…

Essentially Catering @MagazineEC 28 APR

NEWS!! After 13 years EC magazine is closing on the 30th April, it’s a decision from the top, nothing to do with CO… https://t.co/N97wicqo9j

Follow Essentially Catering Magazine on Facebook

Article Archive

Mental Health

Christmas may be heralded as a time for customers to be jolly and let their hair down, but the extra pressure on hospitality workers can take its toll. This year has witnessed an unprecedented amount of media attention being given to mental health. Read more >

Cocktails

Back in the day, the availability of cocktails out of home was very much limited to eponymous bars where your drinks were served by expert mixologists with a flair for spinning and twirling bottles as they created their offer. Read more >

View previous articles > 191
Advertisement Cooking oil offer