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How Dining Decisions are Made
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Ever wanted to get inside the mind of your customer and see how they make their dining decisions? Or more
importantly, why they chose the restaurant down the street instead of your location? In a Foodservice Radio
interview, Carin Oliver, Chief Innovation Officer with Angelsmith, takes us through a recent study that analyzes
the dining decision-making process and how you can use this information to attract more customers.
The Angelsmith study consisted of a survey of bloggers, reporters and fine dining enthusiasts, conducted in the
first quarter of 2012. "What we really wanted to do was take a deep dive into the restaurant category and find
out not only who and what was most influential when consumers are deciding on a restaurant, but understand
what steps they take. We also looked to determine that final piece that makes them open their wallet and sit
down and pay for a meal," says Oliver.
"Not surprisingly, when consumers are looking for a new restaurant to try, the thing that influences their dining
decision most is a trusted friend, family member or co-worker," Oliver continues. "Almost half cited friends and
family members as most influential when looking for a restaurant. Second to that they mentioned consumer
generated websites like YELP, Urbanspoon, City Search, and also food bloggers and then newspapers food
critics." But the research did contain some surprises. "We found that when we asked them if they do any
additional research, more than 80% came back and said yes. That was very interesting because the idea that
you would get a restaurant recommendation and then not act on it is pretty compelling. We also took a next
step and asked when you do research, where do you go?"
After receiving the recommendation the diners are most likely to visit restaurant's website or check YELP or
other consumer generated review sites. "Those were in a near statistical tie," according to Oliver. "The
surprising point there is not that people are checking YELP, because I think that everyone understands the
sites are important and growing in influence, but that the restaurant's website has so much power to sway a
dining decision. Your website, which you have complete control over, can really be a powerful force when
someone is considering your restaurant."
"Restaurant blogs and bloggers were the next most important place people search after they receive a
restaurant recommendation. Newspaper food critics were in the fourth place but when we did a crosstab
against those hyper-influential people who are always asked for restaurant recommendations, we found that
they were reporting readership of both blogs and newspapers far above your average respondent. That really
tells me that those newspaper food critics are very influential to people who make the most recommendations,"
For more information on Angelsmith and to get excerpts from the study, visit www.angelsmith.net