How People Choose Where To Dine

A recent report about how people choose what restaurants to patron sheds an interesting light on how consumers make decisions.  While this study centers on the restaurant business, the decision process is probably similar for many industries.

Factors that are extremely or somewhat important in deciding where to dine:
•   Past experience – 86%
•   Recommendations from people I know – 80%
•   Limited-time promotions – 61%
•   Advertising – 57%
•   Google or other search site – 50%
•   Discount/Group deal web site – 47%
•   Local newspaper/magazine review – 46%
•   Restaurant review sites – 39%
•   Food/lifestyle magazine – 29%
•   Food/Dining blogs – 28%
•   Social Media – 26%
•   Zagat ratings – 24%

What Does This Mean To You?

Whether you are a dining establishment, B2B company, retail store or a service based organization, customer’s past experiences and recommendations will probably always be the top reasons why people do business with you.  This is one of the reasons why social media should be important to you.  While many consumers might not make selections about your business based on your social media offerings, comments & reviews on your page and information about your business distributed through social media can have a huge effect on your success.  Digital word of mouth is rapidly becoming one of the leading purchase influencers.  Also, important are offers and advertising.  Never forget the importance of telling people where you are and what sets you apart.  For more information on creating a buzz about you business and how to manage your reputation digitally, please contact:
Al Fiala

Source: Equation Research


4 responses to “How People Choose Where To Dine

  1. Very nice. I find your ratings of factors important to the decision making process to be about what I would have expected them to be. Some years ago (late 1970’s), in a discussion with a restauranteur, the topic of negative advertising came up. He said that folks might brag about a great dining experience, but seldom mention the fairly good, or okay ones. Moreover, a bad dining experience spreads (according to him) by word of mouth 100 times more efficiently than even the great ones do.

    Conversations with people today suggests that still may be true. Another point brought to my attention recently is the importance of knowing how NOT to advertise. One example is taping flyers to mailboxes. It tends to irritate people, and lets them visualize the name of your business while they are frustrated with the nuisance. Thank you for sharing your findings.

    • Van – Thanks for adding your insight and knowledge. You’re right about how quickly negative reviews or bad customer experiences spread. Very often you people will only mention the good when prompted, when people are looking for a recommendation or when the subject is brought is brought up. But negative information is what people start conversations with. Social media has only made this more pervasive. Instead of individually telling a few people about something bad, now you can tell everyone you know at once. And when something is read, it is often given more credance. This is one of the reason reputation management is going to become more important in the future.
      Thanks Again

  2. Was wondering what your sources were and how the question was worded from which these conclusions were drawn? In my 20-plus years in the food service business on the marketing and research side, the number one reason for choosing a restaurant has always been convenience. It’s simply one of 3 stops in everyone’s day and whomever the most convenient is wins! That’s why McDonald’s leads. It’s former CEO even stated that ‘McDonald’s is a real estate company whose largest client just happens to sell food’!

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