Foodservice Equipment Reports

Fresh Ingredients And Choice Key Aspects Of Consumers’ Restaurant Value Perception, Says NPD

Price for quality is still the leading value factor when consumers select a restaurant, but fresh ingredients and selection are close runners-up in the value equation, according to new research from the NPD Group’s foodservice practice.

The new report released last month, Defining Value: Where Consumers Choose To Eat Out, looks at how different restaurant consumer groups define value. The firm identifies five restaurant consumer segments. The two largest, so-called foodies and restaurant regulars, are together 58% of the total and are less driven by price and deals and more by the quality and freshness of their meal. Fast-casual visitors also are highly motivated by fresh ingredients and fresh preparation, according to the study.

Choice is also a critical component of the value equation, according to Bonnie Riggs, NPD’s restaurant industry analyst. Consumers want choice, which is one reason for the success of mass-customization concepts such as fast-casual. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they would prefer choice in their combo meals, for example, rather than pre-determined combos.

“Quality should be viewed as a cost of entry,” Riggs said. “Operators must go further, however, and deliver on customization and fresh ingredients as these are the other important factors in the value equation.”

Defining Value was one of three new reports issued by NPD’s foodservice group last month. Healthy at Foodservice: Consumer Expectations Put in Perspective shows consumers tend to order fewer items—especially desserts and beverages—or order smaller portions as leading strategies for being “healthy” when consuming foodservice. The firm also released data from a year-long study of U.S. Hispanic foodservice behavior NET(National Eating Trends) Hispanic and its on-going CREST Hispanic which show, among other behaviors, that U.S. Hispanics predominantly follow cultural tradition and consumer their largest meal at lunch. Nearly three-quarters of those meals are prepared and/or consumed in the home, compared to 62% for non-Hispanics. And as a result, Hispanics eat their lunch meal away from home less often than non-Hispanics.

Information on NPD Group foodservice research can be found at

Related Articles

Efficient Service Key To Success

Walk Through The Regulated Restaurant

UNIT DESIGN: Deep-Green Makeover: The Next Course