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Digital Habits of a Fine Dining Customer by MindShift Metrics


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MindShift Metrics, the Research arm of MindShift Interactive, interviewed and analyzed audiences to gain Insights into the Digital Habits of a Fine Dining Customer. This report would be beneficial for anyone in the Hospitality industry hoping to understand their customers and gain a better positioning in the market.

A majority of Restaurants are using digital to communicate and engage with their customers, but how many are actually reaping the benefits of digital to the fullest? How many are able to gain insights into customer wants and emotions?

We take you on a journey of the digital customer and their experience within Fine Dining to enable you to gain insights onto them and build up your establishment to cater to the ever-growing competition and the need for digital integration within your business.

This Report has now been made available for free after a "For Sale" Partnership with Social Samosa for 12 months.

Published in: Food

Digital Habits of a Fine Dining Customer by MindShift Metrics

  2. 2. A majority of Restaurants are using digital to communicate and engage with their customers, but how many are actually reaping the benefits of digital to the fullest? How many are able to gain insights into customer wants and emotions? MindShift Interactive interviewed and analyzed audiences to gain Insights into the Digital Habits of a Fine Dining Customer. The research aims at understanding the customers’ mindset when selecting and engaging with a restaurant, and what his digital journey with the experience is. The report would be beneficial for anyone in the Hospitality industry hoping to understand their customers and gain a better positioning in the market. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  3. 3. Fine dining promises to offer patrons the finest in food, service and atmosphere. Fine dining service goes far beyond taking an order and delivering food. It offers an experience which includes escorting patrons to the table, holding the chair for them, crumbing the table in between courses, explaining menu items without notes and compassionate serving of meals. India has always served food with much love as it is a key attribute of the Indian culture. This trait played an important role in the evolution of Fine Dining in India. What began as an experience for the most elite in town has now become more accessible. Many have gone far & beyond to serve the finest cuisines, a wide array of international drinks and spacious yet private seating areas. Today’s youth has taken to the fine dining revolution like a fish to water and played an influential role in convincing other generations to experiment, share and enjoy more than what their comfort levels have offered for generations. FINE DINING CULTURE IN INDIA  
  4. 4. Social media is the digital force that has swept the globe and left many buzzing and awestruck in its wake. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram have taken the online space by storm, revolutionizing brand interactions and creating inexhaustible opportunities for brands to scale their presence and reach their audiences. While Facebook accounts for over 100 million active Indian users, Twitter boasts of a total base of over 33 million registered users in India. Facebook users are dominated by an age group of 18 to 35 year olds, and account for 50% of the overall user base on social networks. With organizations being found to use the power of digital more than the global average and their counterparts in emerging economies, the future of digital in India is predicted to be nothing short of over-the- top. This immense growth has held the restaurant industry by its palm and has helped revolutionize the fine dining experience with quick search buttons, open communication and ease of reservations. Today, the Indian customer can find the cuisine of choice, get recommendations as per their friends preferences, book a table of choice, pre-order meals and even add an element of surprise to their dining experience! We studied the social dining patterns of two age groups: Type A: 18- 24 years old Type B: 25 – 35 years old Our Analysts captured reactions to determine behaviour patterns, interests and requirements while our Strategists put together ideas that could be beneficial to a marketer looking at launching or growing their brand, digitally and at the property. We take you on a journey of the digital customer and their experience within Fine Dining to enable you to gain insights onto them and build up your establishment to cater to the ever-growing competition and the need for digital integration within your business. SOCIAL MEDIA: THE NEW MINDSET  
  6. 6. 14% 19% 56% 11% Type A (18 – 24 years) 89% 7% 22% 51% 20% 80% Once a Week Once in Two Weeks Once a Month Occasionally Visit at least once a month Visit at least once a month IS FINE DINING A MONTHLY ACTIVITY FOR MOST? Insight : A larger group of diners visit Fine Dining restaurants atleast once a month, across age groups, making it an occasion-based experience. Idea : Highlight menu/ promotions for the month via digital platforms . Devise promotional strategies which revolve around creating occasions for prospective diners. Initiate a Digital Monthly Calendar creating opportunities to increase the frequency. Type B (25 – 35 years)
  7. 7. Insight : 63% of Type B Diners prefer frequenting a restaurant during the weekend, spending quality time with family members and friends. Idea : Offers, discounts & loyalty memberships are worthy investments towards ensuring a the weekdays draw in similar numbers as the weekend, and more loyalty. Personalized marketing efforts would draw in the key targeted audiences. Office goers wish for earlier happy hours, while homemakers appreciate a special pampering catering to women. Eating hours of a Fine Diner WHEN DO YOU EAT OUT THE MOST? Most Fine Diners frequent restaurants for dinner. Type B prefers coming in for lunch and on weekends more. When do you usually eat out the most? (Weekdays) When do you usually eat out the most? (Weekends) Both Lunch & Dinner Dinner Lunch When do you usually eat out the most? (Weekdays) When do you usually eat out the most? (Weekends) Type B (25 – 35 years) Type A (18 – 24 years) 29% 16% 55% 5% 32% 63% 11% 30% 59% 9% 52% 39%
  8. 8. Insight : A high spending power across Fine Diners leaves them unaffected by the time of the month to eat out, but a larger population of Early Spenders tend to splurge within the first 15 days. Type B has a larger tendency to take advantage of their credit cards versus Type A who prefers spending within salary limits. Idea : A balanced marketing calendar, catering differently to the start & end of the month would ensure a sustained footfall. Opportunities to design schemes for specific days is an advisable add on. Special offers for usage of Credit Cards & promotions digitally in the latter half could help the younger audiences frequent through the month. FINE DINERS THROUGH THE WEEK AND MONTH Second Half 15% Matters 12% First half 85% D o e s n ’ t Matter 88% Is a specific time of the month a priority?
  9. 9. MOBILE PHONES ARE RESTAURANT GUIDES Mobile Phones are the most used devices across both the age groups when it comes to searching for a restaurant. 74% 12% 10% 4% Mobiles Laptop Desktop - PCs Tablets Mobile Phones Usage Demographics 68% 86% Within the age group 18-24 use Mobile Phones. Between the age group 25-35 use Mobile Phones. Insight : 74% of both the age groups prefer using Mobile as the key device for their online search. Idea : A responsive website, listings on leading sites and creating a strategy to constantly be in touch with the mobile generation are a must. Blogger relationships and a consistently buzzing digital presence are helpful in creating awareness. Location-based services can be explored.
  10. 10. MARKETING ON-THE- GO LEADS THE WAY Idea: Offer free Wi-Fi Access to encourage customers stay connected and can continue with their smartphone experience. Integrated well with Location-based Services to be accessible and spotted while customers are exploring options, and entice them with Offers. Leverage the Mobile phone further through applications, campaigns, push messages and innovating on instant messaging applications. Own a Hashtag for your brand and publicize it across the restaurant for reviews, ratings & recollection. The redemption rate of Mobile Coupons are 10 times higher than Traditional Coupons. 80% people said that the use of a smartphone made their decision making process easier. 11% is the average increase in the no. of orders per month, when restaurant brands enable online and mobile ordering.
  11. 11. Insight : Marketing efforts, Influencer recommendations & an ever- evolving product are key reasons for Zomato & TripAdvisor leading the way as restaurant listing applications. Idea: Gain constant insights into customers and engage with them digitally to build a personal bond that can be scaled to make them evangelists. Zomato is the leading Restaurant Listing App Zomato Trip Advisor Just Dial Burrp Food Panda 57% 11% 11% 8% 7% Groupon Eat2Eat 5% 1% In the last 6 months, how often have you used the following platforms to look up a restaurant? Type A 18-24 years Type B 25-35 years Number of times 1-2 >5 Never 1-2 >5 Never Google Search 15% 17% 2% 9% 32% 1% Facebook 17% 3% 5% 14% 3% 7% Twitter 6% 4% 11% 9% 3% 9% Instagram 5% 3% 11% 8% 0% 10% Blogs 8% 4% 9% 9% 2% 8% Zomato 6% 38% 0% 9% 31% 1% Burrp 14% 8% 5% 7% 12% 7% TripAdvisor 7% 6% 8% 8% 4% 8% Food Panda 6% 6% 8% 9% 1% 8% Groupon 7% 4% 9% 4% 5% 10% Eat2Eat 1% 1% 12% 2% 0% 13% Justdial 7% 6% 10% 11% 6% 7% Others 2% 0% 11% 3% 1% 10% APPS THAT PEOPLE LOVE Are you there where it matters?
  12. 12. Friends play an important role in helping the decision of where people dine at, but influential bloggers & twitteratis are increasingly guiding the decision of a social media dependent customer. 88% 65% Friends & Family Influencers RISE OF THE LIKE-MINDED “OPINION LEADER” Insight : With the growing investment in building relationships with bloggers and tweeps, they form the generation of Opinion Leaders that drive people to a restaurant. Idea : Invite Loyalists, Bloggers, Twitter Influencers for an exclusive lunch, interaction with the Chef, season specials or a preview of the deals to create a connection. Offering benefits to friends and family members can encourage more group visits and recommendations too.
  13. 13. I don’t read reviews online 1% RISE OF THE LIKE-MINDED “OPINION LEADER” A negative review decreases the trust value of a restaurant & more often than not, results in a customer selecting another dining option. Insight: Online content and social conversations by friends and digital influencers have a significant impact on how customers select a restaurant. Word Of Mouth marketing plays an increasingly crucial role here. The recall value is higher when a friend has visited the place and reviewed the experience on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. A photograph shared by an friend or influencer, while tagging the brand increases curiosity to look into the brand further. Idea: Create instances worthy of photographs through your ambience and decorated food plates, whilst also ensuring you engage with opinion leaders and evangelists of your brand by being constantly active on social media and recognizing each person who talks about you.
  14. 14. Italian and Continental are the cuisines most preferred by Fine Diners. Chinese, Indian and Thai are next in order of popularity. 46% Prefer consuming alcoholic drinks with meals at a Fine Dining restaurant. Type A (18 – 24 years) Type B (25 – 35 years) Italian 23% Continental 19% Chinese 17% Indian 13% Thai 10% Others 18% Italian 18% Continental 18% Chinese 14% Others 21% Indian 19% Thai 10% ITALIAN, CONTINENTAL… AND ALL THAT JAZZ Insight : Highlighting your restaurants cuisine and specialty on social media by promoting events and cultural fests gives it an added preference. Idea : Menus create an Impact for customers while at the venue and hence marketers could adopt techniques like: 1.  Menus as Smartphone/ Tablet Applications. 2.  Promotional calendar on social media must highlight the food and music at the location.
  15. 15. Live bands 22% Jazz 21% Retro 20% Classical 15% Rock 10% Pop 7% EDM 5% WHAT MAKES FOR GREAT AMBIENCE? Ambience is mainly driven by music and décor. Live Bands and Jazz are popular associations with Fine Dining. Insight : Music and Décor provide as a great experience for the customer to frequent a restaurant. Live Bands are extremely popular in keeping the mood, while décor influences a customer to be enamored and share more of the look and feel of the restaurant with his/her friends. Idea : An interest in the music at a restaurant must be leveraged through customized calendars for each occasion and ensuring appropriate promotions of the same. Conducting social media contests for each live performance would help gain more awareness. Jazz & Retro seem to be the desired music of choice, hence bringing in leading personalities within the space could be considered. 40% customers get influenced to engage with the restaurant brand’s Twitter handle or Facebook profile when they come across it in the ambience of the restaurant. Get influenced 40% Not sure 34% Don’t get influenced 26%Others 14% Dim Lighting 15% Indoor Seating 15% Privacy 17% Décor 19% Music 20%
  16. 16. 64% Chose a Fine Dining restaurant after looking at an online menu. 73% Seek best value for money and make them feel it will be worth their experience. Restaurant name and locality are two of the most important factors while looking for a restaurant online. 11%4% 13% 22% 50% 16%5% 9% 30% 40% 6%16% 27% 28% 23% Search by Restaurant Name Search by Locality Search by Cuisine Every timeQuite OftenOccasionallyRarelyNever DEALS AND LOCATIONS – TWO CORE FACTORS! Finding a restaurant and researching on the latest deals or offers available drive customers to Mobile Apps or Restaurant sites. Find Restaurant Find Deals/Offers Book Tables To Place an order Check on Loyalty Schemes 54% 19% 12% 11% 4% Insight : 64% individuals are convinced to come into a restaurant after seeing the Menu. Location plays an important role in making the final decision as well, as most people aren't open to travelling more than 30 minutes. Idea: The menu must be legible and available across platforms for ease of reference. Integrate location-based services in your strategy to keep a watch on customers nearby and lure them in through offers.
  17. 17. Food Quality is what diners speak of the most, while kind of service received is what Type B discusses at length across digital review sites the most. Top 5 criteria diners look out for while selecting a restaurant. Food Quality 15% Ambience 14% Hygiene 12% Service 11% Price 11% Type A (18 – 24 years) Food Quality 14% Service 13% Ambience 12% Hygiene 11% Price 10% Type B (25 – 35 years) 46% would recommend a restaurant if they like the ambience. 65% higher price does not imply better food quality. 37% recommend a restaurant if the service staff is welcoming and reliable. AMBIENCE FOR THE YOUNG, SERVICE FOR OTHERS
  18. 18. AMBIENCE FOR THE YOUNG, SERVICE FOR OTHERS Insight: Service & Quality seem to be the key differentiators during a fine dining experience. The survey also highlights that 65% of the respondents stay unaffected with the prices as they feel the quality is not directly proportionate to the service or the quality. Idea: Working on all the relevant factors like Ambience, Quality, Service, Hygiene & Pricing and syncing it with social media value could drive users to review and converse about your brand further.  
  19. 19. A majority of these diners are comfortable travelling between 5-10 kms and not beyond 10 kms. 10 >1050 62% 34%4% <-------- in kms --------> Spending above INR 1,500 per visit is a norm among both age groups. Type A (18 – 24 years) Type B (25 – 35 years) 47% 63% Spend above INR 1500 per outing for a Fine Dining Restaurant. Spend less than INR 1500 per outing for a Fine Dining Restaurant. FEWER BARRIERS OF PROXIMITY AND BUDGET Insight : A commercial and widespread vicinity are the right spots for restaurants to be based out of to be accessible to all and to gain the necessary recognition for themselves. Traveling is something diners are okay with only when a restaurant is established and highly spoken of. Idea: Promotions play a vital role to position the location of the restaurant. A brand should ideally: •  Position the various locations it is available at (Implying Choices that a user can make). •  Share Google Maps via all the Listings to make navigation easier.
  21. 21. What are the most frustrating delays for a Fine Diner? 75% Wish to be seated sooner at a restaurant. Before the bill Comes Time between your order being taken and when the food comes Time between when the serving first approaches you and when your order is taken Time between being seated and when the serving staff first approaches you Before you are seated 28% 23% 24% 15% 10% 88% Expect the staff to be knowledgeable. 70% Prefer quicker service.77% Like restaurants with attentive serving staff. MANAGING SERVICE EXPECTATIONS Insight: Restaurants should use this waiting as an opportunity to get these customers to interact with their social media profiles. Idea: It’s important to constantly keep a check on which areas you score low on and improve them almost instantly. Certain areas which cannot be rectified due to the popularity or ever changing demands of the customer must be compensated through marketing and loyalty initiatives. The end game must be towards providing outstanding service that increases the chances of creating loyal customers.
  22. 22. Facebook is used for check-ins, status updates and sharing pictures. Instagram is popular for food-pictures. Twitter drives reviews and conversations. Check-in Facebook Four Square Instagram I don’t Check in Twitter 50% 19% 13% 11% 8% Facebook Twitter Instagram None Blogs 58% 19% 13% 8% 1% Four Square 1% Update status Upload photos/videos Instagram Facebook Twitter I don’t Upload Photos Zomato 44% 40% 7% 5% 2% Blog 1% Snapchat 1% FINE DINERS SHARE MORE THAN THEIR FOOD Insight : Each platform is used differently by a user and hence proves the importance of being on the right amount of platforms and providing a different strategy when present on each of them. Idea: Capitalize on your fans, incentivize then when at the restaurant and after their experience regularly and encourage your customers to spread the word.
  23. 23. Food & Drinks Friends Ambience Service Interiors 24% 18% 16% 12% 8% Price Cleanliness Offers or Discounts Convenience Reputation 6% 5% 4% 4% 3% What topics do you like to talk about on social media when you’re at a fine dining restaurant? To share my opinions with friends To share anything unique that you come across at a restaurant To share the fine details of an incredible meal or a memorable dining experience To share exotic combinations of food that you experimented at the restaurant 7% 9% 11% To let other know that you went to a particular restaurant 31% 42% FINE DINERS SHARE MORE THAN THEIR FOOD Insight : Sharing a Fine Dining experience for most is more than just talking about the food. Customers love to talk about the differentiators and the appreciation of a ‘fine experience’ at a restaurant. The special memories attached with the restaurant are highlighted often too. Idea : Create instances across your restaurant that engages users to share it online. Innovation is key to ensuring constant buzz about your restaurant. Offer new additions to your ambience, more events and providing a fine experience worthy of mention. What inspires you to upload a picture/status/video on social media?
  25. 25. Most diners consider online reviews before deciding on a place. A lot of diners share their experiences through a review at least once in 6 months. Every timeQuite OftenOccasionallyRarelyNever 10%2% 13% 30% 45% Impact of reviews 85% Put up reviews at least once in six months (67%) Never put up reviews (33%) Share reviews online TO REVIEW OR NOT TO REVIEW! Reviews shared in the past 6 months. Less than 3 times More than 3 times Never 34% 42% 17% 41% 25% 41% Good Experience Bad Experience Insight : With an increasing and active social media presence, a brands need to maintain a response management process is vital. Customer relationships peak when a brand is able to ensure responses within a short time frame and is able to gracefully accept a mistake and handle it appropriately. Idea: Collect information about your consumer while they’re at the restaurant and keep the connections alive by inviting them onto your social media presence or a review site to share their feedback, followed by acknowledging it. Customer Service is the key, after all, to a successful and sustained business.
  26. 26. Most Fine Dining customers would visit a restaurant again if they have had a pleasant and unique experience. A small segment would still be open to experiment. 85% recommend a restaurant if they had a pleasant experience. 57% promote restaurants that are "Value For Money“. 60% recommend a restaurant with a unique and distinctive menu. No, I would rather experience with other new restaurants (10%) Yes, I keep revisiting the restaurants I like (90%) GAINING LOYALTY, ONE DINER AT A TIME Insight: Recommendations are made on the basis of 3 “Loyalty Pillars”: a pleasant experience, distinctive menu & when a customer witness a value for money. Idea: Implement Loyalty programmes, connect through social media with them and create a sustained influencer marketing programme to ensure top of mind recall. Alongside, keep your restaurant alive through the above Loyalty Pillars.
  27. 27. 36% 36% people prefer receiving an update on social media from the restaurants they like, while 23% would like to be updated on text messages. Social Media STAY CONNECTED WITH YOUR EVANGELISTS 23% SMS 21% Email 20% Not Interested UPDATE ME ON: Deals, Offers & Upcoming Events. 1/4th of the population wishes for their opinions to be HEARD. Opportunity to have a (social media) platform for dialogue! 34% Insight : While a customers attraction to a restaurant is mainly for the good food, value added services increase the chances of creating repeat and loyal customers. They are highly acceptable to social media promotions and means of reaching out to them. Text Messaging is the next best way of reaching out. Idea: A mix of modern marketing techniques would help ensure top-of-mind recall. Social media, mobile marketing are the most successful implementations, along with consistent customer care. Deals (or special offers) 25% Feedback (seeking feedback and inputs from users) 21% Events (specific upcoming events) 11% Food (from restaurants menus) 7% Brand (promote restaurant brand awareness)
  28. 28. 1.  Future Use Coupons: A reason to come again and enjoy benefits like discounts, free desserts and other privileges. 2.  Special Menus: Customized menus for seasons, occasions and different times of the month. 3.  FREE : A surprise meal for two, at the price of one and the word FREE that doesn’t downsize but just excites people. 4.  Live Music: New bands bring in a variety of fine diners who love music in their background, while popular music performers are appreciated in restaurants to bring in crowds in quantities. 5.  Contests: A campaign to create awareness about a new menu, events at the venue or celebrate festivals helps customers remember the restaurant and keep it top-of-mind recall. 6.  Informed Staff: Nothing is as impressive as a staff member who is able to take control, suggest meal options and interact with guests. 7.  Social Media Connect: The Digital Age loves to be connected. Do incorporate your social media platform links to keep the relationship beyond their visit. WHAT ARE CUSTOMERS LOVING?
  29. 29. 1.  The Fine Dining Industry has grown leaps & bounds over the past few years and adoption of amongst audiences from the younger to older generations is owed to the increasing impact word of mouth has through digital mediums. Restaurant Owners & Visitors seem to frequently discuss various avenues about the property on social media and the same gets shared, discussed and reviewed further to increase conversations and recall. The key for any brand is to be constantly in the news and social media gives you the advantage to be a topic of discussion consistently, without being extremely intrusive. 2.  If a brand wishes for their customers to visit more often, they need to offer their meals at attainable price points. Attainable has different meanings in different markets, but it’s prominent that if the prices are significantly higher than that of their competitors, they are going to miss out on some visits. 3.  Being available where the customers are is key to your success. Selecting a location based on where your market is present is as important as being digitally available at locations where your customer may end up searching for you. Select platforms on social media that are right for you to reach out to each age group and personalize your approach to reach out to them on that. 4.  The menu is an important piece of advertising a restaurant possesses. Restaurants should make it a deal to upload their menu on all online platforms, such as Zomato, TripAdvisor, Facebook and any others that have a significant user base. 5.  Insights show that a Fine Dining Customer yearns for more than just good food and that must be kept in mind when creating an experience for them, through impeccable service, an astonishing ambience and a great after-service connect through digital, to build a relationship with them. Investing in customer connect after the experience is vital to ensure repeat visits and evangelism. 6.  Know what the digital space can offer your brand and accordingly invest in it to see a return on investment. If you wish to gain insights on your footfalls or know what people have to say about the chef or the ambience, you can know it all, including having the option to reserve a table of your choice. MindShift Insights
  30. 30. •  MindShift Metrics research focuses on customers of Fine Dining restaurants, active on social media, to understand their behavior and how social media plays an important role when it comes to Fine Dining. •  In order to understand the Digital Habits of a Fine Dining Customer, MindShift Metrics, a wholly owned subsidy of MindShift Interactive Private Limited, designed an online survey that was completed by approximately 150 respondents. The criteria for selection involved: The respondents should fall within the age group of 18 and 35 years and equally distributed among the 6 metro cities in India viz. Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai. Equal weightage was given to each city with regards to number of respondents. They should be acquainted to the culture of Fine Dining restaurants and must be pretty active on social media/digital platforms. •  The questionnaire consisted of three sections - The first section to help understand the customers behavior during the pre-selection of a Fine Dining restaurant, the second section to find out the habits while at the restaurant and the third to seek out information about these customers response with respect to their experience at the restaurant. •  The survey was conducted between 15th August and 15th October 2014. Methodology
  31. 31. About MindShift Metrics •  MindShift Metrics is a wholly owned subsidy of MindShift Interactive Private Limited and drives the Digital Research business of the organization. Our Research & Behaviour Analysts specialize in Consumer Profiling, Digital Tracking, Trend Forecasting & Competitor Intelligence. MindShift Metrics provides digital research solutions to organizations such as L’Oreal India, JW Marriott Mumbai, Chevrolet India, HomeShop18, Max Bupa Health Insurance and many others willing to experience a MindShift, while providing Metrics-based Digital Marketing solutions through MindShift Digital. •  Know more about how MindShift and our Research. Email us on or visit Consumer Profiling and Analysis Social Media Metrics Share of Social Voice Competitive Intelligence Metric Based Social Media Consulting
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