Three-quarters of Hispanic diners order food from restaurants at least once a week, compared to about two-thirds of consumers overall. And these heavy foodservice users are visiting restaurants even more often today than they were two years ago.
With year-over-year sales growth dipping across all Top 500 restaurant segments, it’s an important time to capture this fast growing demographic’s dining dollars. Technomic’s new “2017 Hispanic Foodservice Consumer Trend Report” reveals a few ways to appeal to Hispanic diners today.
Hispanic diners increasingly are placing importance on all aspects of the kids’ menu, at both limited-service and full-service restaurants. About three-fifths of Hispanic consumers say an expansive kids’ menu with enticing options for little ones is very important at LSRs and FSRs, compared to roughly half of Hispanic consumers who said the same in 2015.
Additionally, three-fifths of Hispanic consumers say healthy kids’ options are important at LSRs, up from half of diners in 2015. Even more consumers—about two thirds—note the importance of healthy kids’ menu options at FSRs today, compared to half of diners in 2015. Restaurant chains looking to improve their standing among this demographic should consider adding more whole grains, proteins, and fruits and veggies, as well as better-for-you beverages, such as infused waters, to their kids and family menus.
In line with the increased focus on their children’s dining experience, Hispanics also place greater importance on group dining occasions now than they were two years ago. Over two-fifths of Hispanics say it’s important for LSRs to be able to accommodate large dining parties of six or more people—up from a third of respondents who said the same in 2015.
To appeal to Hispanic families, casual-dining chain Native Grill & Wings launched Feast Mode, which are family-sized meals containing items such as a large salad and a variety of grilled chicken pieces. The chain says the meals have contributed to an increase in sales since they were launched last year.
More and more Latino customers also are calling for convenient takeout options at LSRs. Half of all Hispanic diners say takeout service is extremely important when choosing an LSR to visit, compared to two-fifths of respondents who said the same two years ago. Therefore, it may come as no surprise that the chains winning with Hispanic families are those that offer family meal deals for takeout, including Wingstop and Pollo Tropical, according to Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics program.
Family always has been important to the Hispanic community, but it’s even more top-of-mind for foodservice occasions today than ever before. To appeal to the current Hispanic diner, restaurants should make sure their kids’ menus offer a good variety of healthy options. The status quo kids’ menu will no longer cut it.
Restaurants also should consider implementing tech-based takeout solutions for off-site family dining occasions, including one-click payment and delivery options. Finally, restaurants must guarantee that their packaging maintains the food’s integrity—from the restaurant’s door to the customer’s table—for a greater number of menu items going forward, beyond chicken and pizza.
Originally appeared in the June, 2017 issue of Prepared Foods as Appealing to Hispanic Diners.