Technomic Releases Update on Family Dining Restaurants

Family dining occasions are naturally a trademark of the family-style segment; in fact, nearly half of parents polled by Technomic (49 percent) visit family-style restaurants at least once a week. Even though parents and kids may be the primary target audience for family-style restaurants, opportunities exist to boost traffic and sales from other groups, including younger Millennial and Hispanic consumers.

“Family-style restaurants are well-known for attributes that are highly applicable to the family-dining occasion—namely friendly service, a welcoming atmosphere and amenities that appeal specifically to parents dining with children,” says Darren Tristano, vice president of Technomic. “But it’s also vital for these operators to leverage the importance of affordability, menu craveability and appealing comfort foods in order to attract a broader customer base.”

[View larger: Spotlight on Family-Style Restaurants]

To help foodservice executives better understand consumer behavior, preferences and attitudes regarding family-style dining, Technomic has developed the Family-Style Restaurant Consumer Trend Report. Interesting findings include:

  • Forty-five percent of Millennials and 57 percent of Hispanic consumers say they visit family-style restaurants once a week, compared to just 41 percent of all consumers polled.
  • Affordability, cravings and comfort foods drive visits: 69 percent of consumers say they are likely to visit family-style concepts when seeking sit-down meals at an affordable price, and roughly half say they’d visit when craving certain menu items (54 percent) or when seeking comfort food (45 percent).
  • Amenities that make the dining experience easier for moms in particular are likely to be well-received at family-style restaurants; 50 percent of moms, and 34 percent of dads, say toys and games for children are highly appealing at these locations.
  • Healthy kids’ options are more important than expansive kids’ menus. More than half of parents (56 percent) place high importance on healthy options, compared to just half of consumers who say expansive menus for young children, tweens and teens are important.
  • Fresh descriptions resonate strongly with family-style consumers; 61 percent of consumers would pay more for items described as fresh, compared to two-fifths of consumers who are willing to pay a premium for other leading health call-outs, such as seasonal, natural, lowfat, low calorie and more.
  • About half of consumers (48 percent) polled say they would be very likely to try new or unique items or flavors at family-style restaurants. Ethnic items are one way to add new flavors; three out of 10 consumers say they would like family-style restaurants to offer a wider variety of ethnic items.

Technomic’s Family-Style Restaurant Consumer Trend Report provides comprehensive research on the latest menu and consumer preferences at family-style restaurants organized into three major sections:

Menu Insights – Technomic’s exclusive MenuMonitor data is used to provide year-over-year analysis of menu offerings at family-style restaurants, while uncovering current trends in menu development.

Consumer Insights – an examination of consumer definitions, usage, purchasing behavior and preferences for family-style dining occasions based on findings from an exclusive survey from 1,500 consumers

Profiles – appendices feature detailed concept and menu profiles for 15 concepts that reveal how family-style operators are positioning brands and menus to cater to consumers during family-dining occasions.

Technomic publishes a complete library of U.S. consumer trend reports including many topics covering Canadian and U.K. market trends.

Note: This post originally appeared as a company press release.



Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include numerous publications and digital products, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.

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