Nation's Restaurant News reports that casual restaurants grew sales at 1% in 2010, and projected growth annually for 2011 is not projected to be much higher. Some customers that previously dined out frequently now scale back restaurant visits or limit them to special occasions.
The recession forced many consumers to cook more meals at home. As a recent Bloomberg article points out, now some consumers will continue to stay home as they reap the benefits of saving money and making healthier meals. To face these growth challenges, restaurants will need to use even more creative approaches to bring in the new dine at home segment, such as coupons and the creation of unique dining experiences. They will also need to make sure that every dining experience goes beyond customer expectations.