Majority of Consumers Won’t Try a New Menu Item

NPD Report Reveals Who is Most Likely to Try and Why

Chicago, January 14, 2014 — Restaurant operators invest heavily in promoting new menu items and it turns out that a majority of consumers (about 70 percent) of consumers won’t try a new menu item but almost 30 percent of consumers will, reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company. Seventeen percent of these “early adopters” will order a brand new menu item and 10 percent will try a limited time offer item, according to the findings of a new NPD foodservice market research report.

Consumers try a new or unfamiliar menu item based on their perceptions of its taste and visual appeal, but they also may consider healthfulness and price when making the decision to try a new item, finds the NPD report, Menu Item Trial: Motivating First-Time and Repeat Orders. Generally, consumers tend to replace their pre-planned menu item with a new menu item only if the new item is in the same food type as the product they had originally planned to order. The exception to this is snacks, where any other food type has an equal chance of being replaced, reports NPD.

A first-time menu item purchase during a restaurant visit occurs less frequently at quick service places than at full service restaurants. The highest incidence of trial of a new or unfamiliar menu item occurs at casual dining places, which, according to NPD, relates to the quality/freshness of the ingredients used in the menu item, the item being a good meal accompaniment choice, and the ability for diners to share the menu item with others. Half of the new menu items ordered is main dishes while sandwiches make up almost half of the remaining new items ordered.

Source: The NPD Group/ Menu Item Trial: Motivating First-Time and Repeat Orders

“Insight into the reasons why consumers try a food or beverage menu item that they have not purchased before provides restaurant operators with the knowledge required for successful product innovation, introduction, and marketing,” says Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant analyst. “In addition, stimulating menu-item trial and delivering a satisfying experience should lead to repeat visits and sustained customer loyalty.”

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