Valassis Research: Consumers More Likely to Dine out if Restaurants Sweeten the Deal

Consumer Look-alikes Don’t Necessarily Act Alike

LIVONIA, Mich.--()--Valassis, a leader in marketing technology and consumer engagement, today released new research via its Defining the Coupon & Value Restaurant Consumer” study, providing insights for restaurants and industry marketers on how to attract modern diners.

In-home dining has become more prevalent as a result of easier access to meal kits and new food delivery options. Consumers eat out less frequently each year – 14% less compared to 2000. However, Valassis found restaurants can entice consumers to dine out when there is a better understanding of the restaurant consumer and the use of incentive-based marketing strategies.

To help restaurants understand how consumers make dining decisions, Valassis identified three customer saving profiles – coupon savvy (those that use coupons to find highest quality for lowest price); value seekers (those that typically look for the lowest price); and full price purchasers (those who are willing to pay full price when dining). While these restaurant customers have similar demographics, their purchase behaviors differ. Interestingly, the median restaurant spend of coupon savvy consumers ($19) is closer to the full price purchasers ($20) vs. $15 for value seekers. When it comes to what motivates them, coupon savvy consumers want quality and a variety of options; value seekers are naturally driven by affordability, but also convenience; while full price purchasers seek quality, speedy service and an atmosphere fit for a variety of occasions. Value seekers make up 70% of restaurant visits while full price purchasers and coupon savvy make up 17% and 13%, respectively.

Coupon-users visit restaurants seven times per month on average, compared to non-coupon users who do so just 4.8 times per month. Overall, 77% of consumers say they use coupons at restaurants. With this, it is clear that today’s diners are hungry for savings and can be tempted to visit brick-and-mortar locations if incentives are offered.

“Consumers’ desire for savings is strong across purchase categories and the restaurant market is no exception. Our data shows when restaurants make an up-front investment in offering incentives to diners, they see greater ROI and foot traffic gains in the long run, as well as more frequent and lucrative brick-and-mortar visits,” said Dana Baggett, Executive Director – Restaurant, Valassis. “Marketers who expand outside of traditional value-oriented consumers and tap into other demographics via proximity-based advertising strategies, competitive pricing and offers will attract diners and drive consumer spend.”

As the restaurant industry continues to evolve, one facet that remains is consumers are creatures of habit – in fact, 54% usually visit the same eatery. While this is good news from a brand loyalty perspective, it also means encouraging them to switch dining locations can be more challenging. However, offers and price promotions can spark behavior change:

  • 20% of consumers switch restaurants based on promotions or coupons, and 12% do so in order to find the lowest price.
  • Even when deciding between several restaurants they like, 54% will pick the one that offers a coupon, with this number rising to over 60% among heavy (weekly) dining visitors.
  • 57% use coupons for a location they have never visited, with this number peaking for fast casual, family and fine dining restaurants (all 72%).

Furthermore, diners appear to be extremely deal-hungry, with 41% saying they want to receive coupons at least once per a week. This number rises among millennials (54%) and parents (49%). How do they want to receive deals? It ultimately boils down to the type of restaurant and consumer. However, in general, Valassis found they have an affinity for both print and digital channels:

  • Casual Dining Customer
    • Favorite coupon format: Mail (49%); email (48%)
    • Couponing frequency: 36% use coupons at least once per week
    • Willingness to switch: 67% will try a new restaurant if a coupon is offered (among heavy frequenters)
  • Fast Food Customer
    • Favorite coupon format: Mail (67%)
    • Couponing frequency: 41% use coupons at least once per week
    • Willingness to switch: 64% will try a new restaurant if a coupon is offered (among heavy frequenters)
  • Pizza Customer
    • Favorite coupon format: Mail (56%)
    • Couponing frequency: 41% use coupons at least once per week
    • Willingness to switch: 64% will try a new establishment if a coupon is offered (among heavy frequenters)

To view additional data points from the study, download Valassis’ “Restaurant Coupon Correlations” ebook.

About the Study

The “Defining the Coupon & Value Restaurant Consumer” is a study fielded in conjunction with a third-party research and consulting firm providing vital insights to the foodservice industry. The study was conducted in October 2018, and the sample derived via an online survey of 1,500 foodservice respondents who were at least 18 years of age and living in the contiguous United States. The data is nationally representative by age, gender and ethnicity.

About Valassis

Valassis helps thousands of local and national brands tap the potential of industry-leading data – understanding, engaging and inspiring millions of consumers to action with smarter cross-channel campaigns. We’ve been a part of consumers’ lives for decades, introducing new ways to deliver offers and messages that activate them – whether via mail, digital or the newspaper. NCH Marketing Services, Inc. and Clipper Magazine are Valassis subsidiaries, and RetailMeNot Everyday™ is its consumer brand. Its signature Have You Seen Me?® program delivers hope to missing children and their familiesValassis and RetailMeNot are wholly owned subsidiaries of Harland Clarke Holdings.


Mary Broaddus
734 591-7375

Release Summary

Valassis' “Defining the Coupon & Value Restaurant Consumer” study, provides insights for restaurants and industry marketers to attract diners.


Mary Broaddus
734 591-7375