Report: Value Promos Fuel U.S. Dining Out Trend

Consumers across the globe are cutting back on dining out, per a report released today (Monday) by The NPD Group. While marketers overseas tend to focus on new food introductions to help sales in tough times, in the U.S., it’s all about value promotions.

According to the report, foodservice outlets experienced a sharp drop in sales in Q4 2008, caused mainly by a steep decline in consumer demand. Spending dropped by 2.1 percent in countries like Japan, where the average diner spent $8.42 dining out. In Italy and Spain, the declines were 0.9 and 2.1 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, foodservice brands in the U.S.—such as Subway and McDonald’s—have responded to the global economic downturn with aggressive value messages. This focus on value advertising—as opposed to new menu additions—has paid off, per The NPD. Foodservice spending in the U.S. increased by 2.1 percent, and the average diner’s check was $6.34.

“While deals and promotions helped drive the small traffic growth at U.S. restaurants in 2008, such value-oriented practices are largely unfamiliar in other countries,” Bob O’Brien, senior vice president of global foodservice at NPD, said in a statement. “Instead, other countries are much more aggressive with product variety as an enticement to visit.”

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