Retailers, consumers and prices
When it comes to getting the most bang for a buck at sit-down restaurants, Olive Garden, Cracker Barrel, Golden Corral, Applebee’s and Chili’s get top marks, according to 5,000 diners recently polled online by BrandIndex.
Brands with the worst perceived value were Ground Round, Benihana, Bahama Breeze, Landry’s Seafood House and Hooter’s.
Sit-down restaurants have been discounting heavily as consumers cook more meals at home and “trade down” to lower-priced fast-food chains to save money amid a long recession that has sent U.S. unemployment to a 26-year high.
BrandIndex is owned by market research company YouGov.
Here is the full list of results:
(A score can range from 100 to -100 and is compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.)
Whether it is “value menus,” Applebee’s two dinners for $20 deal or Ruth’s Chris Steak House’s “Summer Classic” three-course meal for $39.95, restaurant operators long have been depending on specials to woo customers during a long recession that has driven unemployment to a 26-year high.
Now, one high-profile restaurant executive says he has seen some rivals’ deep discounts disappear over the last few weeks.
Check out the “Downturn Generation.”
That’s what data tracking firm Information Resources Inc is calling a “new generation of Americans (that) is adopting practices similar to Depression-era shoppers, implemented both to weather the recession and to keep a close eye on spending long after the recession ends.”
Basically, we want everything on sale. And that means lots and lots off the original price. The New York Times today pointed out how retailers are pushing deep discounts of 50 percent or more to attract shoppers.
According to IRI’s study, more than 69 percent of consumers surveyed say they are more likely to look through retailer ads for deals and nearly 82 percent are more likely to look for sale prices once in the store.
Also, it’s not just one store they are looking at. Fifty-nine percent visit multiple stores for the lowest prices, and 42 percent of those shoppers will continue to do so into the future.
Just under two-thirds (65 percent) say price is becoming more important than convenience in brand purchases.
Oh, and along with this new frugality comes another benefit: sharing is in and for some people it could stay.
Since U.S. President Barack Obama has begun owning up to his mistakes, the top dogs at some U.S. companies are giving mea culpas a try.
Take LeapFrog Enterprises’ Chief Executive Jeff Katz, for example.
In an interview with Reuters, Katz admitted that the toymaker had not been fast enough or deep enough with its discounts in the fourth quarter, which included the holiday sales season. The result? LeapFrog posted a 24-percent drop in quarterly sales and a wider loss for the period.