Restaurants looking to serve Hispanic customers should provide food and service geared toward families, according to new research from The NPD Group.
The latest findings from NPD’s CREST Hispanic foodservice market research showed that 42 percent of restaurant visits by Hispanic customers included children, compared with 30 percent of restaurant visits from non-Hispanic customers.
“Hispanic restaurant consumers tell us that they would visit restaurants more if they make children feel welcome,” said Michele Schmal, vice president of product management for NPD’s foodservice division.
“Language also matters in reaching this market,” Schmal said. “Restaurant operators and food manufacturers would do well to focus marketing to Hispanics around the family and children.”
Among Hispanic consumers, those who speak more Spanish than English tended to visit restaurants with children slightly more often than bilingual or English-dominant Hispanics. Spanish-dominant Hispanics included their children in 43 percent of their restaurant visits, compared with 41 percent of restaurant visits for bilingual customers and 42 percent for English-dominant Hispanics.
Two of the largest quick-service chains in the restaurant industry recently have changed their kids’ meals significantly. McDonald’s has tried to make its Happy Meals more healthful by reducing the portion size of French fries, including apple slices with every order and making milk the default beverage.
Burger King also has made kid-friendly moves, like offering Apple Fries with every meal and introducing oatmeal as a BK Kids Meal option at breakfast. It also rolled out new packaging for the BK Kids Meal, including a wearable BK Crown and games and toys on the box.
Family-dining chains also will update their offerings for large groups and children. Bob Evans has said in earnings calls that Family Meals to Go would enhance the brand’s value focus.
Denny’s most recent promotion, launched this week for the holidays, includes a tie-in to the film “Arthur Christmas” and a “Taste of the Holidays” menu. Two items Denny’s has highlighted from that menu include the kid-friendly dishes Arthur’s Milk and Cookies Shake and Arthur’s Christmas Cookie Pancakes.
The NPD Group is based in Port Washington, N.Y.