U.S. fine dining restaurants adjust to increase visits

U.S. fine dining trends

U.S. fine dining traffic declined by double-digits during the recession but visits have rebounded after the segment adjusted to meet the needs of today’s consumer. Casual dress codes and laid back environments are some of the ways in which fine dining restaurants have changed to meet their customers’ needs.  Diners want upscale food in a comfortable, fun atmosphere at a affordable price point.

Fine dining traffic gains last year were ahead of the total foodservice industry, which ended 2013 with visits flat. The fine dining segment, which represents a small share of overall industry traffic but a 14 percent share of foodservice consumer spending, has been ahead of the industry in visits for the past three years.

The growth in fine dining traffic isn’t because of lower cost but rather higher perceived value.  An average eater check at a fine dining restaurant was $28.55 last year compared to $5.32, the average eater check for quick service restaurants, which represent the bulk (78 percent) of total restaurant traffic. Casual dining restaurants have the next highest average eater check to fine dining at $13.75, but visits to this segment of restaurants have been down for the past several years.

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