'Menuing Craveability'

Published in CSP Daily News

Technomic shows relationship between what customers want, loyalty

CHICAGO -- Craveability is a major purchase driver for restaurants, with 83% of consumers saying that cravings are a main reason they purchase food away from home. Technomic's recent white paper, Cultivating Craveability: Consumer Assessments of the Most Craveable Restaurant Chains, takes a deep dive into the importance of craveable items, the role of craveability in driving satisfaction and loyalty and the chains that consumers say most excel at triggering and satisfying their cravings.

"Our CBM [Consumer Brand Metrics] data reinforces that craveable menu items are a critical element of the menu mix," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic. "Craveable items promote impulse-driven occasions, can build a strong emotional connection with consumers and, in many cases, are the items that restaurants become known for. To cultivate craveability, operators must develop and refine unique signature items that have the power to transform guests into regulars. Some of these items might include comfort foods, memorable sides and sweet snacks."

Because craveability is so important when a consumer picks a restaurant, Technomic includes the attribute among those that determine the winners of its annual Chain Restaurant Consumers' Choice awards.

Highlights from the Cultivating Craveability white paper include:

  • Craveable items are associated with visit satisfaction. Three-fourths of consumers who say that the chain they visited does a very good job at menuing craveable items rated their last visit to this chain as excellent, and a fifth rated it as good--in all, 98% of these consumers scored their visit in the top two box overall.
  • Craveability also plays a role in building customer loyalty; 95% of consumers who rate a restaurant chain's craveable items as very good agree that they will return to the restaurant in the near future, compared to 87% of those who rated the items as good and two-thirds or fewer of consumers who gave the chain lower ratings on craveability.
  • Dessert and snack concepts are best positioned of all quick-service restaurants (QSRs) to capitalize on consumers' cravings. These chains dominate other quick-service category players on this attribute and, in fact, receive some of the highest ratings across all segments. Items such as Cold Stone Creamery's Signature Creations, Dairy Queen's Blizzards and Culver's Concretes invite consumers to indulge their sweet tooth's strongest cravings.

Data from CBM, which tracks more than 80,000 annual consumer restaurant visits by U.S. and Canadian consumers at more than 115 leading restaurant chains, powered the white paper. Technomic includes more than 115 leading restaurant chains in its Consumer Restaurant Brand Metrics online database, which allows operators to track their performance against competitors on more than 60 different attributes regarding food, service, atmosphere, value, convenience, reputation and more. Chains can also analyze their results by region, demographic group or designated market area. The consumer feedback is based on ongoing data collection and compiled from a nationally representative sample of more than 80,000 annual consumer restaurant visits.

Chicago-based Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.