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2024 American Diner Trends Report

Uncover the latest restaurant industry trends based on our survey of 1,500 consumers about their dining habits.

Blue cover of the American Diner Trends Report on a pale blue background.

What’s Inside the 2024 Dining Trends Report:

  • The latest data from a survey of 1,500+ diners across the U.S.
  • Dining out statistics and takeout statistics
  • A breakdown of dining habits by generation – from Gen Z to Boomers
  • The top deal-makers and deal-breakers for potential diners
  • The top 5 emerging dining trends

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Uncover the latest restaurant industry trends based on our survey of 1,500 consumers about their dining habits.

The past year has been marked by both major economic uncertainty and significant changes in American dining habits. In turn, this has begun to shape new restaurant industry trends and alter how the industry caters to consumers.

To better understand shifts in dining habits, the nuances between generations, and the latest trends in the restaurant industry, we recently surveyed more than 1,500 diners from across the U.S. We also spoke directly with diners of all ages to dive deeper into the stories behind the numbers and let operators know which restaurant trends to watch.

With more than 100+ stats on diner frequency, values, habits, and more, the findings inside our 2024 Diner Trends Report reveal just how much has changed in the past few years and what’s stayed the same. For restaurateurs, this data provides valuable insight into today’s diners and what’s required to provide the best possible guest experience.

The Top Restaurant Industry Trends for 2024: Sneak Peek

Below you’ll find a preview of the latest restaurant consumer trends uncovered by our report. For a complete picture of the changing industry landscape and the biggest trends in foodservice, download the 2024 Diner Trends Report now.

1. Marginal Menu Price Increases

Inflation has decelerated over the past year, but consumers are still feeling the effects of cost of living increases (plus new pressures from rising debt levels, reduced savings, and the compound impact of inflation) and, as a result, their appetite for menu price hikes has evaporated. While diners are still eating out, they’re doing so less frequently because of price increases. In fact, the latest dining out statistics reveal that only 39% of Americans are dining out weekly or more often compared to 48% in 2022, marking a major shift in dining habits from the year prior. 

If menu prices continue to rise at a rate faster than inflation, the reality is that fewer diners will be visiting restaurants. In fact, our report found that 31% of Americans say a price hike would significantly impact their choice to dine at a particular restaurant – and that number jumps to 40% among Gen Zs specifically, which is the group that dines out the most.

Restaurateurs have been fortunate that diners have absorbed price increases until now, but in 2024, they’d be wise to look for other ways to manage costs and should be especially cautious about introducing any new service fees. The message from diners is clear: restaurants shouldn’t raise their menu prices by more than 10%, as that is the highest increase most consumers say they can absorb.

2. Digital Diner Touchpoints

Every business needs to strike a balance between keeping current customers happy and attracting new ones, and restaurants are no exception. When it comes to the latter, this year’s data shows that one of the first things diners do before visiting a new restaurant is to look at the menu online – 85% do this most of the time, making it one of the more significant restaurant trends. Additionally 80% always or often look at the restaurant’s website, and 67% always or often check out a restaurant’s online reviews.

This is big news for all restaurateurs, especially those who haven’t paid a ton of attention to their website and online presence in the past. Since a potential customer’s first experience with a restaurant is now a website visit, this means it’s time for restaurateurs to show some love to their digital real estate.

In order to keep pace with changing consumer dining trends, today’s operators must think carefully about every aspect of their website – from how it ranks in Google searches to whether the user experience is intuitive. Leaving these items up to chance means restaurants will risk losing potential customers. Instead, restaurateurs should hire the expertise required to ensure their digital presence is as impressive as their food.

3. Restaurant Tech with a Human Touch

While diners appreciate advancements in restaurant tech (like online ordering), they don’t want a fully automated customer experience. Considering that most diners (85%) prefer to order from a server and that even most Gen Z diners (64%) call in to make a reservation, it’s clear that diners still want human contact as part of the customer experience at restaurants. In fact, this aversion to too much tech in the dining room of the few restaurant consumer trends that’s consistent across generations.

Engaging with customers on their terms is reason enough to heed this important restaurant trend, but there are other reasons, too. Americans have concerns about how technology may alter their dining experience, like the ability to ask questions, customize orders, and get meal recommendations without a physical menu or conversation with a server. Others are strongly put off by QR code menus due to the size of the text on screen, the consistent scrolling required, and the fact that these menus cause people to have their faces in their phones.

Staying on top of the latest restaurant industry trends and being open to technological change is smart. However, when considering which new tech to implement, think about it from the customer’s perspective. Does it enhance their dining experience or take away from the convenient – yet human – experience we know they desire?

How We Identified the 2024 Dining Trends

The restaurant industry statistics listed can be found inside our 2024 American Diner Trends Report. To create this restaurant industry report, we partnered with research firm Maru/Matchbox to survey 1,500 diners in the U.S. Our research was conducted from September 12th to September 21st, 2023. Survey results are accurate +/- 3% for the general population of American diners.

The complete respondent profile can be found inside the report.

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