Craveability is a major purchase driver for restaurants, with 83 percent of consumers saying that cravings are a main reason they purchase food away from home, according to new research from Technomic.

Technomic's white paper explored the craveable attribute of restaurant food and beverage through data compiled by Consumer Brand Metrics, which tracks more than 80,000 annual consumer restaurant visits at more than 115 chains.

The white paper, titled "Cultivating Craveability: Consumer Assessments of the Most Craveable Restaurant Chains," also looks at the role of craveability in driving satisfaction and loyalty, and the chains that consumers say most excel at triggering and satisfying their cravings.

"Craveable items promote impulse-driven occasions, can build a strong emotional connection with consumers and, in many cases, are the items that restaurants become known for. To cultivate craveability, operators must develop and refine unique signature items that have the power to transform guests into regulars," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic.

Some of these items, he adds, include comfort foods, memorable sides and sweet snacks.

Highlights from this research include:

  • Craveable items are associated with visit satisfaction. Three-fourths of consumers who say that the chain they visited does a very good job at menuing craveable items rated their last visit to this chain as excellent, and a fifth rated it as good — in all, 98 percent of these consumers scored their visit in the top two box overall.
  • Craveability plays a role in building customer loyalty. Ninety-five percent of consumers who rate a restaurant chain's craveable items as very good agree that they will return to the restaurant in the near future, compared to 87 percent of those who rated the items as good, and two-thirds or fewer of consumers who gave the chain lower ratings on craveability.
  • Capitalize on sweets. Dessert and snack concepts are best positioned to capitalize on consumers' cravings. These chains dominate other quick-service category players on this attribute and, in fact, receive some of the highest ratings across all segments. Signature items such as Cold Stone Creamery's Signature Creations, Dairy Queen's Blizzards and Culver's Concretes, have strong cravability ratings among consumers.

Read more about trends and statistics.

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