1. Channel: Restaurants

Hard to believe but Restaurant Customers Want to Read the Menu


Restaurant drive thru, convenience
store, or grocery deli when customers are looking for dinner more often than
not, they are looking for Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food
according to Steven Johnson
Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  In an era of abundant culinary choices,
understanding what drives Americans’ dining decisions is important for both
businesses and consumers. So, we ask are Americans paralyzed by indecision when
it comes to dining out? What drives their choices when it comes to where to

According to a new study by US Foods,
79% of Americans can’t decide what to order and spend about 9 minutes figuring
out what they want to eat once seated at a restaurant. Why is it tough? For
54%, there are just too many meal options. 

68% prefer menus to list
all ingredients of a dish

51% of diners say QR code
menus slow down the ordering process 

Americans are willing to
spend $44 on a meal for themselves

It’s not always easy
choosing where to eat, as Americans take an average of 14 minutes to decide.
With so many restaurants out there, the decision factors include a restaurant’s
location, the cost of food, and diner habits. 

Diners also say the
reputation of a restaurant matters, with 76% of Americans looking at reviews
before eating there. 2 in 5 also say they look up a restaurant’s social media
profiles before dining out.

Take a look at the full
report, which includes additional insights into American menu preferences and
ordering habits.

The choice of where to dine can be daunting for hungry
consumers. But, how do Americans decide where to eat and what menu items to
order amid seemingly endless options? In a recent survey conducted on a sample
of over 1,000 Americans, US Foods® sought to uncover the
fascinating secrets behind American diners’ menu choices.


When it comes to dining out, 79% of Americans grapple
with the dilemma of choosing what to order. On average, Americans invest 9
minutes figuring out what they want to eat once they’re seated at a restaurant.

Where does the difficulty in ordering primarily come
from? For 54% of American diners, they can’t decide between the abundance of
options. For nearly 1 in 4, it’s due to their pickiness; and for another 23%,
they are indifferent, or have no problem choosing.

When it comes to making dining decisions, it’s clear that information is key. The majority of
Americans (83%) review a restaurant’s menu before setting foot inside, and half
of those who do (50%) have already decided what they’ll order before arriving.
Another 2 in 5 look up a restaurant’s social media profiles before dining


On a menu, transparency matters, as 68% prefer menus to
list all ingredients of a dish. Additionally, 65% of diners say 
attractive menus impact their ordering decisions. Key menu factors
for American diners include item descriptions (65%) and pricing (64%). Clear
pricing is crucial, with 9 in 10 considering it when ordering. Americans are
also willing to spend $44 on a meal for themselves when dining out.

Food pictures on a menu influence the order decisions
of nearly 3 in 4 diners, and 66% have specifically not ordered something based
solely on its picture. The majority (72%) of diners also prefer menus with
pictures of food, versus menus without images.


While QR code menus in restaurants have gained popularity since the
onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 1 in 6 diners don’t know how to use
them. An overwhelming majority, 89%, say they prefer physical menus to QR
codes, and 95% believe physical menus should always be available. Only 1 in 6
diners find QR code menus to be more convenient than traditional menus, but 51%
of diners say they slow down the overall ordering process.

In terms of information quality, 86% find the physical
menu easier to read for dish descriptions and ingredients. The majority (87%)
also add that they spend more time exploring a physical menu versus a QR code


The nutritional value of meals is a key factor for 58%
of diners when choosing what to order. More than half (53%) prefer calories to
be listed on menus, and 54% say that listed calorie count influences what they
order. Over 1 in 6 have asked restaurants for additional nutritional
information when it wasn’t available on a 

Portion size also matters, with 78% considering it when
dining out and 74% saying it impacts their decision when ordering. Factors
influencing portion choices include hunger levels (53%), cost (52%), leftovers
(43%), cravings (31%), and dietary goals (28%). Most notably, 57% are more
likely to order if a dish has a large portion size, reinforcing the importance
of serving size. Nearly 3 in 4 believe restaurants should list portion sizes
for better transparency.


When asked the age-old question, “What do you want
for dinner?” Americans, on average, take around 12 minutes to provide an
answer. It’s clear that, for 82% of diners, the convenience factor is a
significant player in their ultimate dining choices.

On average, Americans invest 14 minutes in selecting a
restaurant for their meal. As for the question of where to eat, location and
cost are the top influencing factors, with 73% considering a restaurant’s
proximity and 72% minding their budget.

When it comes to deciding between breakfast, lunch, and
dinner; for 1 in 4 Americans, dinner is the hardest meal in deciding what to


It’s clear the reputation of an
 matters. More than
a quarter (76%) look at restaurant reviews before heading out to eat, and for
nearly 80% of diners, these reviews significantly influence their choice of
dining establishment.

The visual impact of reviews also plays a significant
role, as 84% prefer when customers include pictures of food in their reviews.
When it comes to bad reviews and photos, opinions vary, with 28% saying that
“five” is the magic number when deciding to stay away from a restaurant. More
than half (59%) say that if a restaurant has five or more bad pictures or
reviews, it would deter them from dining there.


When it comes to eating out at restaurants with your
significant other, almost 1 in 4 diners in a relationship confess to being the
“picky eater.” Nearly 1 in 5 points the finger at their partner in the eternal
battle of picky eaters. Yet, varying preferences around food and restaurants
are common, with more than 1 in 10 respondents revealing that picky eating
creates friction in their partnerships.

More than 1 in 5 couples (21%) have different opinions
over where or what to eat. When it comes to ordering at restaurants, 29% opt
for a 50/50 split of food, 65% allow their partner to try their dish only if
they ask, and 6% keep the meal all for themselves (no sharing allowed).

At least the decision-making tends to be mutual, with
82% of diners saying they discuss the restaurant with their partner when
deciding where to eat. And nearly 3 in 5 couples share their meals once they’ve
decided what (and where) to eat.

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in
outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify
additional food retail segment opportunities or a new menu product segment and
brand and menu integration strategy.  
Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche
visit us on our social media sites by clicking one of the following links:
Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter

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