Hispanics Continue to Grow Restaurant Visits While Non-Hispanic Visits Are Flat, Reports NPD

Chains, like Applebee’s, benefit from Hispanic outreach

Chicago, April 20, 2016 — Hispanics, who are a growth target for major restaurant chains based on their large numbers, increased visits to restaurants and foodservice outlets last year while total restaurant traffic was flat, reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company. Last year Hispanics made 10.5 billion visits to restaurants and other foodservice outlets, increasing visits by one percent over a year ago, according to NPD’s ongoing CREST® Hispanic foodservice market research.  

Quick service restaurants (QSRs) remain the outlet of choice for the average Hispanic consumer. Hispanic foodservice customers visited QSRs more than the average non-Hispanic consumer last year. English-oriented Hispanics increased visits by 2 percent in 2015 over year ago, making up for a loss in visits by Spanish-oriented Hispanics. Non-Hispanics increased their QSR visits by one percent in the year ending December 2015 period compared to year ago.  U.S. Hispanics still under-index in terms of visits to full service restaurants and often cite cost and language barriers as the reason.

U.S. Hispanics favor major chains and visit chains 74 percent of the time compared to the 60 percent of visits non-Hispanics do. They particularly like chains that offer a family-friendly environment since more Hispanics dine with their children than non-Hispanics. Hispanics dine with their children 42 percent of visits compared to non-Hispanics who do so 30 percent of the time, finds NPD’s foodservice market research.  

Applebee’s, which was recently cited by The NPD Group and Univision for its Hispanic outreach, is an example of a chain that recognizes the value of understanding and meeting the needs of its Hispanic customers. The chain reached out to Hispanics by extending the invitation to visit in Spanish through advertising. As a result, Applebee’s grew Hispanic visits by 7 percent and they now represent 1 out of every 4 visits made to the chain. Spending by Hispanic patrons at the chain grew by 9 percent.                         

“Applebee’s is a great example of how the investment in understanding what Hispanic customers are looking for when they dine out and reaching out to them directly, results in increased visits and spending,” says Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst, The NPD Group. “This is an important and large audience and their influence on the foodservice industry will continue to grow over the coming years.”

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