What is in this article?:
- NRA: Consumer confidence to remain fragile in 2013
- Avoiding the fiscal cliff
This article is part of Nation's Restaurant News' coverage of the NRA's 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast on NRN.com, which explores various parts of the report.
Avoiding the fiscal cliff
Still, if lawmakers can successfully forge a path around the “fiscal cliff” of tax changes and cuts in government spending scheduled to take effect in early 2013, the economy is expected to continue its gradual recovery, the report said.
For restaurants, the continued growth in tourism from overseas could help. International travel to the U.S. was expected to hit a record level in 2012, with about 65.4 million visitors coming from other countries. That growth will continue, with 68.3 million international visitors expected in 2013 — another record high.
Fine-dining and casual-dining players are expected to benefit in particular from international tourism. Travelers and tourists represented about 29 percent of sales in fine dining and 25 percent for casual-dining and family-dining operators over the past 12 months.
In today’s competitive marketplace, restaurant operators must give every customer the “complete experience” that convinces him or her to return, the forecast contends. However, the NRA’s research indicates that restaurant operators across all segments say customer loyalty is more difficult to maintain than it was two years ago.
Repeat customers generally represent an average of 71 percent of sales at quick-service restaurants, 68 percent at fast-casual concepts, 64 percent among casual-dining restaurants and 51 percent among fine-dining concepts.
While word of mouth carries the most weight in driving restaurant selection, customer loyalty and reward programs are increasingly popular across all segments, the report said.
According to NRA surveys, 66 percent of adults said they would be more likely to patronize a restaurant if it offered a loyalty or reward program — particularly younger diners. And with consumers looking for convenience, demand continues to rise for takeout and delivery options from restaurants, according to the report.
The report also indicated that diners remain budget conscious, with nearly 80 percent of consumers surveyed by the NRA indicated they would eat out more often if menu prices were lower during off-peak times.