CHICAGO, Feb. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Quality, service, convenience and value are the cornerstones of a positive restaurant dining experience, but a recent white paper using data from Technomic's Consumer Brand Metrics (CBM) tool reveals that ambiance plays a critical role as well.
The white paper, titled "Setting the Stage: Consumer Assessments of Decor, Music and Atmosphere at Leading Restaurant Chains," finds that although ambiance can be easily overlooked because of its intangible nature, it can also be an important factor in a consumer's decision to visit a restaurant. Ambiance is associated with higher consumer experience ratings and overall satisfaction.
"It's essential for operators, particularly in the full-service segment, to consider how atmosphere can play a role in the way consumers rate their overall dining experience," says Darren Tristano, Executive Vice President at Technomic. "Tracking consumer perceptions of restaurant ambiance over time, operators can obtain a clear vision of how consumers experience a brand when dining in and how it measures against their experiences at leading competitors."
Highlights from the white paper include:
- Restaurant ambiance drives traffic: A strong majority (91 percent) of casual-dining restaurant patrons say that an appealing ambiance influences their decision to visit a particular concept. For quick-service restaurants, 84 percent of customers say it is important that the units they visit have a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere.
- Younger consumers put a greater emphasis on music and decor: Across all restaurant segments measured, Gen Z and Millennial consumers most strongly prioritize music and decor. Fifty-two percent of these younger generations say that a concept's music selection is an important factor in their decision to visit a casual-dining restaurant, compared to just 43 percent of older consumers.
- Ambiance ratings correlate to overall satisfaction: Ninety-eight percent of consumers who rated a restaurant's atmosphere and ambiance as very good also rated their overall visit favorably (excellent or good). In comparison, less than half of those who rated the ambiance as bad (43 percent) or very bad (31 percent) gave their overall visit a favorable rating.
- Chains with the highest consumer satisfaction ratings: In 2013, the following chains represent the top five brands in each segment based on a rollup of four ambiance attributes (1. Overall atmosphere and ambiance; 2. A welcoming, comfortable atmosphere; 3. Music selection; 4. Decor):
- Limited Service: Caribou Coffee, McAlister's Deli, Firehouse Subs, Pinkberry, Potbelly Sandwich Shop
- Full Service: Bahama Breeze Island Grille, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Maggiano's Little Italy, Romano's Macaroni Grill
These findings were derived from Technomic's Consumer Brand Metrics (CBM) tool, which offers consumer insights based on ongoing data collection and insights on over 123 major U.S. restaurant chains. The tool tracks consumers' perceptions on 62 attributes relating to the restaurant foodservice experience, which include brand image, brand fit and customer loyalty. Chains can analyze their results by region, demographic group or designated market area.
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