Hispanics Increase Foodservice Visits & Spending

CHICAGO — Compared to non-Hispanics, the Hispanic population of the United States is growing exponentially and the demographic group's overall visits to restaurants and other foodservice outlets outpaced population growth in 2014, according to The NPD Group's CREST Hispanic foodservice market research.

Last year, Hispanics' per-capita visits to restaurants and other foodservice outlets grew by 4 percent compared to a 1-percent decline in visits by non-Hispanics, NPD found.

The average U.S. Hispanic consumer visits quick-service restaurants (QSRs) more than the average non-Hispanic consumer. Hispanics' per-capita visits to QSRs increased 4 percent compared to a 1-percent decline by non-Hispanics.

U.S. Hispanics also use full-service restaurants less than non-Hispanics and their per-capita visits to these restaurants declined by 7 percent, compared to non-Hispanics whose visits decreased by 1 percent last year.

Along with increasing their overall visits annually, U.S. Hispanics' per-capita spending at restaurants and other foodservice outlets increased by 4 percent in 2014, compared to a 3-percent increase in per-capita spending for non-Hispanics. Spanish-oriented Hispanics increased their per-capita spending by 8 percent and spent approximately the same at commercial foodservice outlets as the average non-Hispanic consumer. According to NPD, Hispanics typically have larger party sizes and more visits with children, which is a factor in their higher spending.

Some restaurant chains are recognizing U.S. Hispanics' increasing use of restaurants and brand-friendly behaviors — such as choosing chains (75 percent Hispanics vs. 62 percent non-Hispanics) and dining out with children (40 percent of the time vs. 29 percent for non-Hispanics) — and investing in reaching these consumers.

Papa John's Pizza launched its Hispanic marketing efforts in 2006 by expanding its online ordering capabilities to include a Spanish-language website. In 2014, the pizza chain shifted more of its marketing focus to Hispanic consumers by growing its Spanish-language TV spend to 13 percent of its total. It now has a consistent presence on national and local Spanish-language TV, according to Univision Communications Inc.

As a result, Hispanic sales at Papa John's grew 43 percent, traffic rose 18 percent, average eater checks went up $1.50, and items per eater moved from 2.07 to 2.25, according to CREST Hispanic.

"We put a Spanish-language strategy in place, but the message hasn't had to change," stated Papa John's CEO John Schnatter. "Papa John's goal of bringing family and friends together resonates with Hispanics who are very focused on getting together with family. Similarly, it wasn't necessary to change any of our menu items; we just needed to communicate to Hispanics in a way they understood in order to build their confidence in the Papa John's brand."

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