A recent study of 1,500 consumers who eat out at restaurants identified habits and opinions of restaurant patrons related to potatoes. The study uncovered potato dishes consumers love to order when eating out, potato dishes they choose to swap in place of other options presented to them, and their overall expectations regarding potatoes at restaurants.
Consumers in America are used to go out for a meal. A recent study of the Potatoes USA shows that an astounding 53% of the American consumers surveyed said they are willing to pay an average of $5.20 more for a main dish with potatoes than without them, regardless of the forma . The amount they are willing to pay increases as the restaurant’s quality increases. This is excellent news for the potato industry and foodservice operators because it helps a restaurant’s bottom line and increases the demand for potatoes.
Over half of the patrons surveyed (60%) expect to see potatoes on menus, second only to beef. Potatoes are such a staple that patrons are disappointed when potatoes are not on the menu. This expectation is higher in casual dining (e.g., Applebee’s, Outback Steakhouse) and midscale restaurants (e.g., Huddle House, Cracker Barrel) than in fast food restaurants (e.g., McDonald’s, Wendy’s), primarily due to more expansive menu offerings.
Potatoes are ordered primarily due to their taste, as well as for being satisfying, flavorful, and satiating (fills you up). Fries reign supreme; 82% of consumers report they order fries at least occasionally. Mashed potatoes and hash browns are the second and third most popular potato dishes at restaurants. Green salads, pasta, and rice are most likely to replace potatoes on the menu; however, consumers often substitute green salads with potatoes too.
For more details, download the one-page recap of the study. These insights are useful when meeting with operators and explaining the benefits of adding more potato dishes to their menus. Consumers expect potatoes on their menu, and over half of them are willing to pay more for potatoes when they are included in a main dish, so adding a diverse range of potato products could ultimately enhance their bottom line.
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