We pulled together some of the most interesting articles we’ve read recently — and included the quotes that got us talking the most.
There are a lot of megabrands who do a phenomenal job marketing themselves to a national, even global audience. The challenges occur when these same brands try to connect with consumers on a more local level. Anyone who lives in the Boston market has seen evidence of this: the baked bean references, Tea Party jokes, and of the course obligatory “pahk the cahh” headline. In some ways it is no different when you see a famous Hollywood actor butcher the local dialect. It is anything but genuine and fails to make a connection with the local audience. Not to mention it just sounds godawful.
Call me old fashioned (or just old), but I remember when I was growing up we had four options for dining out – a local pizza place, McDonald’s, the “fancy restaurant” with the real tablecloths and the diner. Being picky or having high expectations for the dining experience wasn’t really an option. You just went where you went and ate what you ate.
Good Lord have things changed.
My kids now have upwards of 40 dining options in a 10 mile radius – and I live deep in the suburbs. Last night, we literally had a fifteen minute debate over which Hibachi place we wanted to go to (of the 4 local options – FOUR. LOCAL. HIBACHI. OPTIONS!).
I provide the above as context for some research we conducted here at Full Contact on the fast casual restaurant space. As a working mom with two kids, fast casual is a frequent savior for me. It’s the go-to when there is no time to make a meal, when we need a break from the weekday meal monotony, or when we are running between errands and just need a quick bite. I think many people view fast casual as a savior for the reasons I note above, but according to our research, that does not mean that people don’t still have high expectations for what fast casual restaurants should provide.
According to our survey* of 751 adults, diners seek benefits more often associated with a sit-down restaurant experience from their fast casual counterparts. For example:
In the coming weeks we will share further findings about the restaurant landscape but for now, if you manage any sort of restaurant brand in this hyper-competitive category (FOUR HIBACHI OPTIONS!), I suggest you consider not just the brands you compete against but also how the increase in competition has fueled the expectations of today’s diner.
[Note: Survey hosted by ProdegeMR. Responses gathered from 751 Adults age 18+; balanced to US Census on age, gender, region and household income]