Just because Americans returned to eating in restaurants this year doesn’t mean they picked up right where they left off pre-pandemic. More than three fourths (78%) of 21–65-year-olds surveyed by global market research firm Provoke Insights report a change in their dining habits and 21% say they are eating out less than pre-COVID.
The research, conducted for the Radio Advertising Bureau, shows a shift in habits, with rising demand for fast food. Nearly two thirds of survey participants (64%) say they are eating the same or more fast food and 57% are eating the same or more at fast casual restaurants. On the other end of the spectrum, 47% say they are eating the same or more at full-service restaurants.
Younger Americans are eating out more with Millennials more likely to be dining at a variety of restaurants. “Sixty-six percent of Millennials are eating at fast casual restaurants the same or more as prior to March 2020,” says Annette Malave, Senior VP/Insights at the RAB. “But inflation is impacting their views on menu pricing, as only 35% believe that it is fair.”
Providing ammo for sales teams to drum up more restaurant ad dollars, radio listeners are dining out more often compared to pre-pandemic. Two thirds are eating more or the same fast food (compared to 61% for non-listeners), 58% are consuming more/same fast casual food (vs 55% for non-listeners) while the percentages for full-service restaurants are about the same (47% vs 46%).
In addition to eating out more, radio listeners are more likely to enjoy adult beverages – 78% of radio listeners purchased alcohol in the last three months compared to 73% of non-listeners. In fact, radio listeners over-index across the alcoholic beverage spectrum. More than half (52%) bought beer in the past three months (vs. 42% for non-listeners), 49% bought wine (38% for non-listeners), 47% acquired liquor (36% for non-listeners) and 26% obtained hard seltzer (compared to 21% of non-listeners).
While Provoke Insights didn’t track the preferred alcoholic beverages by individual radio formats, it did offer some qualitative info. Beer shoppers are significantly more likely to be male, have children, and be Millennials. Wine purchasers are far more likely to be female, have children living in the household and prefer online shopping. Liquor shoppers lean male and are more prone to have kids living in their household. And hard seltzer consumers are significantly more likely to be employed full time, to pay more for sustainably sourced items and be more concerned about taking a vacation.
In good news for alcoholic beverage manufacturers looking to lure customers away from their competitors, radio listeners are less loyal to specific adult beverage brands. “There are great sales opportunities for various alcoholic beverage brands with radio listeners,” Malave says. “Compared to non-listeners, radio listeners are not as loyal to specific brands.”
Proving they like to kick back with their beverage of choice, the survey data shows radio listeners over-index for having a drink across a wide range of settings, including at a casual party, bar, special occasion, home and restaurant, “While only two-thirds of adults would drink at a restaurant, radio listeners would consume alcohol significantly more at these venues (75%) – a great opportunity for restaurants,” Malave says in a post on the Radio Matters Blog. For restaurants, alcohol brands, distributers or retailers, the opportunity to grow your business and increase sales with radio is appetizing. It is a chance to use radio to influence brand consideration and ultimately, purchase intent.”
The Provoke Insights study is based on a bi-annual, 15-minute survey using a representative sample of Americans aged 21-65.
Pulling back to offer a wider view, the survey shows radio listeners are more likely to live in the suburbs, be married, have a household income of $100,000 or more, and be Republicans when compared to non-listeners. More than three in four (77%) of radio listeners are working in-person.