For many limited service restaurants, lunch is a key part of their business and a golden opportunity all food service restaurants in general. Thankfully, according to a new study sponsored by American Express, consumers are eating Lunch more than a few years ago.

This study polled 2000 patrons, 1,500 in May of 2011 and another 500 in October of 2015. Compared to the 48% of diners that were polled in 2011 who rarely skipped lunch, 64% of those polled in 2015 rarely skipped lunch demonstrating a 16% increase in those who never or rarely skip lunch.

Compared to two years ago, consumers are purchasing lunches at restaurants more frequently. Based on poll numbers, there was a 3% increase in dine-in lunch purchases compared to two years ago. However, for takeout lunches, there was a 3% decrease with 55% of those polled reporting that their behavior had not changed.

The consumers that are dining in more frequently seem to be making tradeoffs to dine in more. 81% of those polled who are dining in more frequently say that at least some of the times that they are now more frequently dining in are trade outs from lunches that they would have carried out two years ago. Of these consumers, 61% said that their increase in dining in is always due to a trade out from lunches that they would have carried out two years ago.

 

Image Credit: http://nrn.com/amexfsvoice/consumers-step-lunch-occasions

The consumers who stated that they were dining in more frequently than two years ago were also asked what they most valued about the dining in experience for lunch. The most frequently cited answer was relaxation with 46% of survey participants stating that relaxing was what they most valued about dining in for lunch. The second most stated answer was to socialize with their dining companions. 37% of those surveyed said that they most valued the opportunity to socialize with their dining companions that eating a din-in lunch gave them.

As to other reasons why they may be dining in more, 46% said that their eating habits have changed due to opportunity from lifestyle changes. Further, 30% specified that they have more money to spend than they did a couple of years ago as an explanation for what lifestyle changes they had.

Implication

After the researches went over their study results, they concluded that this implies that as the economy continues to improve that restaurants are likely to see an upwards trend in lunch traffic with din-in business in particular.

If you would like to see the original report on the study, you may do so here.