Early Tech Adapters Most Likely to Dine Out

July 15/Chicago/Business Wire -- Based on a model developed in the 1960s by researcher Everett Rogers, Technomic has found that consumers who are first to buy the latest technologies - from smartphones to social media apps -- are also avid restaurant patrons.

Using a modern set of technology adoption attributes in a survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers, Technomic found that, when it comes to using cutting-edge tech products and websites, 8% and 15% of respondents can be described as "Innovators" and "Early Adopters," respectively. These leading-edge consumers are also big on restaurants, representing an important heavy user group. Some 83% of Innovators and 72% of Early Adopters order from a fast food restaurant at least once a week, compared to 56% for consumers on average.

Even more striking, 53% and 35% of Innovators and Early Adopters, respectively, order from fast casual restaurants (e.g., Chipotle, Panera) at least once a week, compared to the average of 20%.

The trend is also evident at food stores, with 25% of Innovators and 20% of Early Adopters shopping at natural and specialty food stores (e.g., Whole Foods, Trader Joe's) at least once a week, compared to the average of 10%.

Nearly double the share of those in both adoption groups (48% compared to 25%, on average) said that a restaurant's presence on a social network, such as a branded "fan" page on Facebook, positively influences their decision to try that restaurant.

What this means is that early tech adopters -- a group that is highly active in social media sites -- may be the first to broadcast their opinions about the latest limited time offer or new restaurant concept. "Restaurant chains are working hard to tap into the reach of social networks," says Erik Thoresen, director of Product Innovation at Technomic, "but the opportunity is also sizeable for independent and regional chains that develop a strong local following among early adopters."

From the July 16, 2010, Prepared Foods' Daily News
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