Restaurant Operators Should Cater to Couch Potatoes in 2018
Last month when I reported for sister publication Food On Demand about McDonald’s planned delivery expansion with UberEats, I wrote, only slightly tongue-in-cheek, that the move would allow more people to get the chain’s cheap eats without interrupting their Netflix binge. Now, reading The NPD Group’s 2018 outlook for the foodservice industry, I’m convinced that scenario was right on.
With the changing workforce, the ease of online shopping and the surge in streaming entertainment, there are fewer and fewer reasons to leave the house, and as market research company NPD notes, “the most popular place to eat out [in 2018] will be in the home.”
“Nearly 50 percent of dinners purchased from a restaurant are consumed at home,” the group reports, meaning operators should look to win by making it easier to get meals to where consumers live.
Convenience is a demand that continues growing, and text and mobile app ordering—both of which posted strong growth in 2017—will continue their trajectory. While digital ordering is a must-have for most operators to drive traffic, it’s imperative, NPD says, for operators to understand their customers’ wants and needs from a technology standpoint. There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, and instead operators “must decide which convenience-enablers are worthy of your investment.”
NPD Group also forecasts a new round of value wars among QSRs in 2018 as they respond to slow traffic. McDonald’s already announced its new $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu, which will launch nationwide January 4, and the competition will likely follow suit with their own versions. LTOs, too, are expected to play an even greater role in operators’ marketing initiatives as they seek to target lighter buyers in 2018, says NPD.