Report: Americans Like to Eat Out in the Summer
Sep 2, 2011
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Eating out plays a central role in outdoor and vacation activities in the summer time, according to new research by the National Restaurant Association. The report shows that:
• 35% of consumers say they will dine out and/or use restaurant takeout or delivery for a picnic, cookout, or outdoor event this Labor Day 2011 weekend
• 20% of consumers ordered restaurant takeout or delivery for an outdoor dining occasion during the summer months
• 66% went on a summer vacation or trip during which they visited a restaurant

“This Labor Day weekend is shaping up to be a busy one for restaurants, as more than one-third of Americans plan to dine out or order takeout,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association. “This is especially good news for restaurants located at destinations along the Eastern seaboard that are eager to welcome guests after Hurricane Irene."

The association’s new consumer survey also shows that:
• 25% of consumers plan to dine at a restaurant over the Labor Day weekend
• 15% plan to order takeout or delivery from a restaurant for a cookout or picnic
• 5% plan to both dine out and order takeout
• men were somewhat more likely than women to use restaurant services for Labor Day weekend; 40% versus 30%
• middle-aged adults (45-54 years of age) are more likely than other age groups to dine at a restaurant to celebrate Labor Day (32%)
• younger adults (18-34 years of age) are more likely to use takeout or delivery for a picnic, cookout, or other outdoor dining event for the holiday weekend (21%).

The survey also asked consumers about using takeout or delivery from restaurants for outdoor dining events this summer, such as Memorial Day or Fourth of July.
• 20% said they supplemented their outdoor dining events with restaurant dishes
• Individuals in households with children were more likely to do so (26%), compared with adults in households without children (16%)
• Younger adults were more likely to use restaurant takeout/delivery for picnics and cookouts; 23% of those aged 18-34 and 26% of those 35-to-44, compared to roughly 15% of those 55 and older.

Consumers were also asked about which factor most influenced how they chose a restaurant for summer dining:
• 57% said they selected an eatery based on food and service, just like at any other time of year
• 17% preferred to dine inside a restaurant to get out of the heat
• 12% sought out restaurants with summer specials and promotions (such as Restaurant Week, beach themes, or happy hours)
• 7% said they dined outside at restaurants as often as they could during the summer months

The survey also asked consumers about how they picked restaurants while on vacation.
• 66% said they took a vacation or trip this summer and ate at restaurants while they traveled
• of those, 24% selected a restaurant that was convenient to where they were staying
• 22% visited restaurants they hadn’t been to before and an equal percentage selected restaurants that were recommended to them
• 20% dined at one of their favorite restaurants
• 12% opted for kid-friendly restaurants

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