Consumers Aren’t Splurging but They Are Dining Out

People eating Pulpo a la Gallega with potatoes. Galician octopus dishes. Famous dishes from Galicia, Spain.

Will 2024 finally be the year that consumer spending habits return to “normal?” Economists are split on when the status quo will resume, but for now, the best bet for attracting consumers is to offer affordable dining options when possible.

According to a Mastercard report, “In 2023, as consumers felt the inflationary pressure, many traded down to still enjoy the eating-out experience, opting for ‘a good deal.’” Many experts predict that this trend will continue throughout 2024, as macroeconomic pressures continue to put strain on budgets.


Looking for ways to appeal to budget-conscious consumers? Try these three strategies.


1. Try Out Limited Time Offers

Two meat plate with salad leaves and summer salad in waiter's hand

Now is the perfect time to explore the world of limited time offers on your higher end dishes. While LTOs are often used to test out new menu items, they can also introduce new diners to existing favorites.

Offering a short-term deal on your more expensive menu items could be a great way to introduce budget-focused consumers to your business. Plus, once the deal is over, they may be more tempted to pay full price for their new favorite item.


2. Play With Portion Sizes


While some restaurants have received backlash for “shrinkflation,” playing with portion sizes isn’t always a bad idea. Offering two portion size options for some of your more popular dishes can be a good way to provide an affordable dining option without alienating your usual diners.


The key is transparency. When you provide a smaller and cheaper portion option, your diners still have the option to order a larger, but more expensive, dish. This strategy is ideal for single-dish menu items, like salads or pastas.


Flat-lay of human hands drinking wine eating fresh cheese fruits bread wine snacks over grey concrete table background, top view. Gathering, celebrating, wine tasting and party concept

3. Host a Happy Hour

What if you could offer affordable dining options all while appealing to the after-work crowd? Happy hour specials are a great way to achieve both goals. Happy hour deals don’t have to just focus on beverages. Appetizers, small plates, and full entrees can also make an appearance on your happy hour menu to reward weekday visitors for stopping by.


Plan Your Affordability Strategy


Incorporating affordable dining options into your menu can help your operation stay top-of-mind for budgeting consumers. In addition to offering good deals, it’s essential to communicate these value-driven offerings through your marketing channels to ensure maximum visibility and appeal to your target audience.


Looking for advice on menuing, LTO planning, or purchasing? Reach out to a Foodbuy Foodservice account manager today.

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