Hispanics and Dining Out.

22630By Peter Filiaci / Univision Insights

Is there really ever anything that can positively impact business more than a relationship with an end consumer that buys your product? I doubt it.

At Univision we are fortunate to represent a consumer that loves to eat out. In fact, NPD’s CREST data demonstrates that Hispanics visit more often, spend more money and order more items at quick-service restaurants (QSRs) than non-Hispanics. These insights about Hispanic consumers are a key factor in driving brands like McDonald’s to lead with ethnic insights. Beyond their significant contribution to business, Burke’s QSR Landscape study shows us that Hispanics use the restaurant experience as a way to connect with family and friends, and that they especially value freshness and authenticity in their restaurant meals. This could be one of the reasons why Taco Bell is using Spanish-language music and taglines (Live Más) and leveraging the popularity of Venezuelan Chef Lorena Garcia to appeal to this valuable consumer.

It’s also why you see casual dining chains like Red Lobster, Outback, Olive Garden and Denny’s upping their efforts in Spanish-language media.

With all this movement, we recently gathered a group of restaurant industry professionals to discuss the Hispanic opportunity. Restaurant operators showed up bursting with questions. They all got it. They all knew why the topic is an important one. Hispanics, after all, are driving all the growth in their industry.

What they wanted to know was how – how to build a relationship, how Hispanic consumers may differ from non-Hispanic consumers, and how to best serve them. We left our attendees with these four areas to focus on:

The Social Experience: Consider messaging that centers around spending time with family and friends, and then pay off the experience at your locations.

Food & Freshness: Communicate freshness and food offerings that feel like home. This doesn’t mean you need to reinvent your menu, simply highlight quality and authenticity in your offerings.

Alternate Dayparts: Hispanics are drawn by the convenience of early morning and late night hours. Your morning meal and late snacking options could be an effective way to entice Hispanic diners to visit.

Language: Don’t underestimate the power that Spanish can have on making Hispanics feel welcome. Incorporating it – whether through employees, bilingual signage and menu options or on-air creative – can make them think: “This is a place for me.”

Here’s a quote that Taco Bell’s CEO Greg Creed that resonates with me: “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

For restaurant operators, this should be a mantra. When the Census shows that 88 percent of all the growth of the 18-34 demographic will come from Hispanics, embracing change means embracing this new American reality.

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