Family Dining Category - Emotional Insights Research
To have a broad understanding surrounding the ways the family dining category is evolving, due to mobile apps and the capability to order online, and to include COVID-19. An ideal response would include what (if any) emotional connection people have to diners/family dining experiences, and how that emotional connection shifts as in-restaurant dining trends decrease and ordering online/app purchases increase. In other words, how can a restaurant mimic the emotional connection people have in the restaurant, and leverage that to online. Also, as this project is to present an effective pitch to Denny's, to understand that besides their brand positioning, strong commitment to menu quality improvement, restaurant remodels, competitive value and marketing & technology innovation, whether there are any other reasons people appear to love Denny's.
- According to 2019 research from Skift, Millennials love Denny's. Mike Wolfinger, Denny’s President, was reported to say that "[T]he generation’s obsession with delivery has led to a spike in sales, particularly at breakfast and late-night hours.
- Wolfinger also asserted at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2019 Consumer & Retail Technology Conference, “[O]ur Denny’s on Demand platform has enabled us to modernize the brand with increasing relevance among younger guests."
- According to Skift's Danni Santana, she does "not know a single millennial that does not appreciate the homey feeling of eating at a diner. This comes as no surprise to me."
- According to a June 2019 Forbes article, Denny's excels at multi-cultural marketing. "A recent report from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program reveals the millennial generation is 44% minority and the demographic that succeeds them is expected to be the first non-white majority generation. Denny’s is also responding to these changing demographics with a new nationwide campaign, called “See You at Denny’s,” aimed at positioning itself as a place that is inclusive, diverse and welcoming. In doing so, the company hired three agencies–Fluent360, Conill and EP+Co–to bring its message to life to different audiences."
- "Denny’s guests have articulated that they want the brand to go back to its diner roots while simultaneously offering modern-day conveniences like online ordering and delivery."
- According to John Dillon, the chief brand officer for Denny's, “Consumers have told us it is a more comfortable environment–it feels more like a place to not only have a good meal but also facilitate more interaction."
- We found a pre-compiled case study on Denny's social strategy. It is from 2018, but we thought it might be relevant for the research so we included it.
- Denny’s dine-in menu changes has led to eight consecutive years of system-wide sales growth.
- Denny's first quarter 2020 results revealed that "as restaurant operations were being limited to off-premise sales channels, Denny's implemented streamlined menus, 'Dine-Thru' curbside service programs, and shareable family meal packs in a matter of days."
- Denny's has temporarily waived all delivery fees which helped the company more than double the average unit volumes of off-premise sales. Also helping was the new “Dine-Thru” curbside service programs, and recently launched shareable family meal packs. Pick-up sales in April 2020 accounted for 57% of total sales, while delivery sales accounted for 39%.
Family Dining Category Evolution
- According to Restaurant Dive, "experts predict that restaurants will double down on digital offerings and continue to experiment with new brick-and-mortar configurations for quick-service formats."
- Delivery disruption, a surge in fast casual dining, labor issues, new definitions of value, plant-based menu items, and investing in experience are six areas (back in 2019) that were predicted to impact family dining in the future. Much of this has proved true...but then COVID-19 hit.
- McKinsey asserts that the restaurant industry can thrive post (and during) COVID-19 by ensuring their top priorities include updating operating procedures, reactivating customers to bring them back into restaurant dining rooms, adjusting menus to address shifts in customer habits and preferences, and enhancing your delivery capabilities. McKinsey also believe that restaurants should create a reopening playbook. "The playbook should include updated standard operating procedures that not only provide a safe store environment but also serve to reassure potentially anxious customers. In other words, simultaneously “go safe” and “show safe.” Ensure that new hygiene and safety protocols are highly visible throughout the restaurant."
Emotional Connections to Family Eating Experiences
Summary Of Our Early Findings Relevant To The Goals
- Our initial hour of research was spent scanning to see what publicly available sources exist to answer all the questions, and then provided many Denny specific insights, as well as a few insights surrounding the evolution of the family dining category based on mobile apps, the capability to order online, and COVID-19. We also provided an expert take on emotional connections to consumers.
- We ran into a few roadblocks surrounding some questions. Specifically, there does not appear to be any credible and reliable information, data, and/or statistics surrounding how emotional connection shifts as in-restaurant dining trends decrease and ordering online/app purchases increase. We are not suggesting further research surrounding this, but we have pivoted the research in order to still provide some relevant insights.
- We assumed a United States focus, even though that was not explicitly stated to us. If a more broad approach is desired, for example, a global focus, this would have to be clearly communicated to us in any reply.
- Please select one or more of the options provided in the proposed scoping section below.
Proposed next steps:
You need to be the project owner to select a next step.