Consumers visit restaurants less often in Q2, but don't appear to be trading casual dining for limited-service restaurants, research shows; 41.5% of total restaurant spending occurred at casual-dining stores, 39.8% at limited-service locations

LOS ANGELES , August 22, 2012 () – Consumer restaurant visits across all segments declined during the second quarter, according research firm Dectiva LLC’s Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey, Nation’s Restaurant News reported Aug. 21.

This was the third consecutive quarter of declines for the limited-service segment, with the percent of consumers who indicated that they visited limited-service restaurants at least a few times per month during the second quarter falling to 64.8%, down from 72.5% the previous year.

Limited-service restaurants accounted for a smaller amount of consumer dining dollars as well, with consumers spending 39.8% during the second quarter, down from 41.4%.

The percentage of consumers who indicated that they visited casual dining restaurants fell to 45.4% of respondents, down from 51.2% the previous year. Consumers said that they spent 41.5% of their total restaurant spending at casual-dining restaurants.

Despite the drop in visit frequency, consumers indicated that they increased their casual-dining restaurant spending, furthering a trend that started in late 2011. This trend shows that consumers were not trading down from the casual-dining sector to limited service restaurants, Dectiva Research Director Dan Meichenbaum said.

The casual-dining sector’s market share rose year-over-year to 41.5%, up from 38.5%.

The percentage of consumers who indicated that they visited fine-dining restaurants a minimum of a few times per month fell to 16%, down from 17.8%. Self-reported consumer spending at fine-dining restaurants fell to 18.5%, down from 20.3% a year earlier.

Dectiva’s Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey involved 2,500 consumers and was conducted during early July.

The primary source of this article is Nation’s Restaurant News, New York, New York, on Aug. 21, 2012.

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