Post-Election, Customers Aren’t Flocking Back to Restaurants as Some Predicted

New survey says 35% of consumers have been eating at home more often in the past 90 days.




Respondents to a Pentallect survey said they have little or almost no discretionary income right now.

 

Where have all the diners gone? Prior to November 2016, some restaurant industry executives blamed declining traffic on uncertainty over the presidential election. But many of those customers are still staying home to eat their meals, according to a survey of 1,000 diners by consulting firm Pentallect.

As Nation’s Restaurant News senior financial editor Jonathan Maze reports in his recent “On the Margin” blog, the survey found that 35% of consumers say they’ve eaten at home more often in the past 90 days, while only 13% said they’re eating out more often.

Bob Goldin of Pentallect told Maze, “We haven’t seen any evidence that people are returning to restaurants post-election,” even though 47% of people surveyed said they thought the Trump administration would be good for the economy.

“This is a huge drag on the restaurant industry, which is highly dependent on discretionary income,” Goldin said in a Pentallect press release. “In this type of environment, consumers tend to eat at home to save money.”

The survey also found that 46% say they have “very little” or “virtually no” discretionary income. That number applies to people in higher income brackets, Goldin told Maze. “Most research on consumer income asks how much money you make, and if you make more than $100,000, there’s an automatic assumption you’re high income. But that doesn’t mean you have discretionary income. You’re making $100,000 a year but have people in college and health care premiums. That’s a headwind for the industry.”

Goldin noted that, thanks to a bullish stock market and low interest rates, the economy continues to perform well “for the top 20%,” but “for a lot of people, they’re struggling, and that hurts the industry.”

He also noted a glut of restaurants competing for a shrinking share of business. “There’s definitely an oversupply of chain units,” he told Maze. “That doesn’t help. And there are even more venues providing the food. It’s a little bit here and a little bit there.”

But Pentallect still predicts that restaurants will outperform traditional retail stores this year as consumer uncertainty begins to subside and restaurants start finding ways to bring their customers back. In the survey press release, Pentallect’s president, Rob Veidenheimer, adds that “restaurants, especially independents, will benefit by their innovation, flexibility, quality and broad appeal on multiple dimensions.”

Pentallect forecasts that the restaurant industry will grow by 3% to $4, while traditional retail sees growth of between 1% and 2% in 2017.

 

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Regulars at California Pizza Kitchen Get 20% Discount on Next Meal Within Seven Days

CPK’s Rewards for Regulars encourages repeat business with generous offer.

5 Ways to Make Your Pizzeria More Memorable

With the right mix of brand assets, marketing tools and service, your pizza restaurant will stand out from the pack.

Oath Craft Pizza is First Chain to Receive Certification by Humane Farm Animal Care

Nonprofit gives seal of approval for Oath Craft’s sweet Italian sausage, bacon and rotisserie chicken.

Pizzas On a Plane! United Airlines’ New Menu Makes Your Deep-Dish Wish Come True

Economy passengers can munch down on a spinach-and-garlic pie from Uno Pizzeria & Grill.

High on Pie: Dispensary Creates Cheese Pizza Laced with Weed

This 6” cheese pie is infused with 125 milligrams of THC, but it’s only for medicinal purposes.

Aloha, Sam Panopolous: Inventor of Hawaiian Pizza Dies at 83

Panopolous and his brothers were experimenting with pizza toppings when they hit upon the idea of tossing in some canned pineapples.

Domino’s by Jetpack: If Iron Man Delivered Pizza, It Might Look Something Like This

Domino’s St. Maarten pulls off a superhero-style delivery in the Caribbean. (With Video)

After Urgent Plea, Owner of a Struggling Pizzeria Has More Business Than He Can Handle

Craig Boncler of Sicily Pizza & Pasta needed to boost business to pay for his three sons’ insulin treatments, and the public response was overwhelming.

American Pizzaioli Claim New Guinness World Record with Pizza Stretching 1.3 Miles

Pizzaioli gathered to build the world’s longest pizza in Fontana, California.

Johns Hopkins University Releases New Handbook to Help Restaurants Start a Meatless Monday Campaign (With Video)

The Meatless Monday Restaurant Implementation Guide provides strategies for successful execution and promotion.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags