Are Customers Coming Back to the Bar? Next Level Marketing's Annual Report

Image: Ernie Sapiro

Reports about slow traffic and tight-fisted customers get all the attention. However, according to a recent report, consumers believe the economy is doing better. In fact, the report indicates that on-premise visits are increasing in 2017, and Mike Ginley shared these findings at the 2017 VIBE Conference.

In Next Level Marketing’s annual report on consumer opinions, about 78% of the 1,120 consumers surveyed are dining and drinking outside of home at roughly the same amount of times or more than the same time last year; 70% identify bars and restaurants as the places where they are spending the same or more.

The consumers who responded to the survey report that they visit casual dining chains the most. Millennials, now the largest cohort in terms of size and importance to marketers, are still favoring quick-serve and fast casual concepts, much more so than their older counterparts.

When it comes to beverages, price remains most important when deciding where to go. Consumers in the survey said good value prices (36%) and great drink quality (31%) were the most important factors for beverage programs, with happy hour specials weighing in third (29 percent). When asked about the impact of menus on decision making, respondents cited prices (52%), beverage descriptions (38%), brand mentions (34%), pictures (26%) and pairing suggestions (24 percent).

Interestingly, the survey revealed what consumers thought were the standard prices for beverages. The average response for the price of a glass of wine was $6.88, and a premium glass of wine $7.77. Standard cocktail price average was $6.76, with premium cocktails averaging $7.41.

Respondents cited numerous factors as important to them when they choose a dining and drinking establishment. Food quality was most important, cited by 56% of respondents. This was followed by convenient location (29%), fun atmosphere (23%), food and drink value prices (23%), speed of service (22%), and drink quality (20 percent). Almost 80% of those surveyed said they typically order alcohol most or every time they go out, and they drink 2.4 drinks on average, per occasion.

Next Level Marketing’s Mike Ginley said a major impact on beverage ordering was ride-hailing services of one kind or another, or what he called the Uber Effect. Ginley noted that the average 2.4 drinks order jumps to 3.5 when consumers use ride-hailing services. Thirty-eight percent of all consumers use ride-hailing services regularly when they go out to eat and drink, compared to 56% of Millennials who do so.

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