CHICAGO — New research by Mintel shows consumers are still keeping a watchful eye on their discretionary spending especially when it comes to eating out in a restaurant.
A full 63% of respondents said "it’s too expensive to eat out regularly," and 24% said they plan to spend less at restaurants this year than they did in 2010.
While 10% said they’d spend more in restaurants than they did last year, 66% will keep the status quo, they said, spending the same amount in restaurants as they did last year.
"Even with the economy on the mend, consumers are still very cautious about increasing their restaurant spending," said Eric Giandelone, director of foodservice research at Mintel. "The restaurant industry grew 2.1% to reach $403.5 billion last year, but if restaurant-goers reduce how much they spend when they eat out, or only spend as much as they did last year, restaurants could have a slow recovery ahead of them."
The casual dining segment will benefit more than other food-service segments, the research shows.
The just-released research bolsters other evidence that consumers have changed their habits and are looking still to keep a tight hold on their pocketbooks. Sixty percent of consumers say the recession has changed the way their family spends money.