Survey: Consumers plan to decrease restaurant spending

NAPLES FLA. —A majority of consumers plan to eat out at restaurants less frequently in the coming months as their concerns about the economy mount, according to a recent survey from investment bank RBC Capital Markets.

RBC’s “Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Households Index,” released Sept. 17 during its annual consumer conference here, found that the consumer mood is “decidedly negative” and that consumer confidence had hit its lowest level since May 2006. —A majority of consumers plan to eat out at restaurants less frequently in the coming months as their concerns about the economy mount, according to a recent survey from investment bank RBC Capital Markets.

“The [index] decline reflects sharply negative changes in consumers’ views on job security, the future of the economy, real estate values and their ability to save for the future,” the survey said. “Baby boomers overwhelmingly are the most pessimistic group.” —A majority of consumers plan to eat out at restaurants less frequently in the coming months as their concerns about the economy mount, according to a recent survey from investment bank RBC Capital Markets.

About 39 percent of respondents said they are eating at restaurants less often than they did six months ago. More worrisome for operators, however, is that 54 percent said they plan to eat out even less frequently in the next three months. Of those who continued to eat at restaurants, 40 percent say they are now less willing to order higher-priced menu items, the survey revealed. —A majority of consumers plan to eat out at restaurants less frequently in the coming months as their concerns about the economy mount, according to a recent survey from investment bank RBC Capital Markets.

The consumer survey is based on a sample of 1,001 U.S. adults. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percent. —A majority of consumers plan to eat out at restaurants less frequently in the coming months as their concerns about the economy mount, according to a recent survey from investment bank RBC Capital Markets.

Consumers who have cut back on restaurant spending were mostly females, Generation Xers, baby boomers and households with incomes of less than $50,000, the survey showed. Of the 11 percent of consumers who said they had increased their restaurant-dining frequency, most were male, those aged 18 to 29, and singles. —A majority of consumers plan to eat out at restaurants less frequently in the coming months as their concerns about the economy mount, according to a recent survey from investment bank RBC Capital Markets.

Food quality was the most frequently cited driver of restaurant choice, at 55 percent, the survey said, followed by menu offerings and then price and convenience. —A majority of consumers plan to eat out at restaurants less frequently in the coming months as their concerns about the economy mount, according to a recent survey from investment bank RBC Capital Markets.

“This supports our thesis of trading up in fast food [toward fast-casual menu offerings] and our view that casual dining should pursue the same upscaling strategy,” said RBC restaurant analyst Larry Miller. “This [also] suggests that the industry’s aggressive pricing in the past few years was not the cause of its traffic loss.” —A majority of consumers plan to eat out at restaurants less frequently in the coming months as their concerns about the economy mount, according to a recent survey from investment bank RBC Capital Markets.