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A new study from Technomic, “Tapping the Market Potential for Casual Dining Takeout,” suggests that consumers plan to step up their usage of casual dining chains for takeout food during the coming year.

“While fast food outlets remain important sources for convenient takeout options and food-on-the-go, the most noticeable growth opportunity appears in full-service casual dining, where the meal is usually consumed at home,” Technomic reports. “Roughly 75 percent of all consumers currently make use of takeout or delivery from full-service restaurants at least once a month. As further evidence of its growing acceptance, nearly 30 percent of these regular users would rather order takeout than eat in at a restaurant, unless the meal was considered a special occasion.

“In another sign of growth, twice as many regular users expect to order takeout and delivery more often in the next year - 19 percent expect more use, whereas just 10 percent say they'll order less often.”

Of the national chains rated for their takeout food, Ruby Tuesday was ranked tops in the survey, followed by Red Lobster and Outback Steakhouse.
KC's View:
Not a huge surprise here, but certainly worth noting, as competition for American supermarket chains continues to come from all directions.

For many chains, “meal solutions” initiatives lost steam a few years ago because the concept didn’t solve everybody’s problems overnight. But we’ve generally believed that the problem wasn’t with the basic concept, but rather with the execution – a lot of companies created meal solutions concepts that were designed to meet their infrastructure needs, not the real food needs of shoppers.

We actually think this is an enormous opportunity for food retailers. Not only should the industry work hard to make the food better and the foodservice offerings more responsive to what people need and want, but, as we’ve written in this space before, they also should focus on helping to make it possible for families to eat one more meal together each month. It would move the needle in terms of the sales, and would have a profound cultural impact as well.