Restaurants and retailers have long competed for consumers' share of stomach, notes Technomic, a Chicago-based research and consulting firm, and dinner is where the action heats up.
If money is tight, retailers often win the family dinner battle by offering appealing ready-to-eat center-of-plate options, easily paired with sides, the research firm reports.
"It's true that the economic conditions of the past two years shifted a lot of business away from restaurants," says Ron Paul, president of Technomic, which has studied key players and developments in the Retailer Meal Solutions (RMS) segment.
"Many restaurants need to adjust the value equation back in their favor," says Paul. "Even though retailers are increasingly successful at matching the quality of restaurant food, some restaurant chains are aggressively challenging retailers on price."
Recent examples include:
- Mimi's Cafe rolled out a Family Meals To Go menu with 10 meal options serving four to five for $24.99. Each meal comes with a choice of soup or salad; additional family-size sides can be added for $3, $4 or $5.
- Bob Evans' 10 Under $20 Family Meals To Go include an entree, a large side and fresh-baked bread for three to four diners. The meals are only available for takeaway.
- Wienerschnitzel promoted several Family Combos for $9.99. Initially offered last month, the meals are available at participating locations for a limited time.
- In April, Buona Beef invited e-club members to try its new Family Meals for a special limited-time price of $13.95.
In light of the important competitive dynamics between restaurants and retailers, and significant innovations in retail foodservice, Technomic is updating its 2007 study of the segment. Foodservice suppliers will learn the "size of the prize" for their products and critical success factors for effectively targeting opportunities. Restaurants and retailers will gain extensive insights on consumer preferences, behaviors, and needs regarding retailer meal solutions.
To learn more about Technomic's study contact Chris Urban at 312-506-3929 or email@example.com.