Although the majority of consumers say they usually visit the same restaurants, diners are still willing to switch destinations based on promotions and coupons, according to a study by media delivery firm Valassis. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

The study, entitled "Tempting the Dynamic Restaurant Customer", found that 30% of consumers are switching their fast food and casual dining choices due to savings, with 25% doing so for fast, casual and pizza places. Interestingly, only about 10% say they switch based on the lowest prices.

Additionally, 34% of consumers are influenced to visit a restaurant if they receive an offer on their smartphone/mobile device when near that location, with this percentage rising among parents (57%) and millennials (54%).

Additional takeaways from the study include:

  • Local restaurants can compete with national chains through location-based promotions and deals.
  • 50% of consumers prefer to dine at local restaurants versus national chains, with this number rising among parents to 59%.
  • A diverse recipe of offers and promotions entices switchers' restaurant selection.
  • For repeat restaurant visits, value/dollar menus and everyday low prices activate the most switchers (58%), with BOGO (buy one, get one) offers being almost equally influential (57%).
  • When spurring new restaurant visits, BOGO and new/limited time offers reign supreme (54% each).

Different media types satisfy different objectives. If a restaurant wants to share offers, promotions and relevant information and drive traffic, mail is ideal, as 55% of consumers prefer to receive these types of messages from direct mail sources while 25% favour TV. With millennials, direct mail and mobile channels are preferred (44% and 40%, respectively).

If promoting a grand opening, restaurants should consider mail, mobile and TV:

  • 43% of all consumers utilize mail and TV sources to learn about new restaurants.
  • 50% of millennials check the TV and 36% use mobile and online sources.

Apps also present a ripe channel for brands to promote deals and loyalty programs, because, as RetailMeNot reports, more than half of deal-savvy diners have at least one food and dining app on their smartphone.

"When it comes to restaurants, consumers often revisit their tried-and-true spots, but our research also finds that these individuals can be readily persuaded to visit new locations through relevant and timely offers," said Curtis Tingle, Chief Marketing Officer, Valassis. "Restaurants can leverage flash sales, quick-turn digital media and location-based promotions to engage and activate these audiences. Consumers are increasingly dynamic, and understanding which tactics activate specific audiences helps marketers develop more personalized offers, resulting in a greater return on ad spend."