During the recession, offering deals on meals was key to getting patrons into restaurants. These days, that may no longer be the case.
Combo packages and value menus don't have the same allure for customers that they had in the downturn, according to research company NPD Group Inc. Deal-driven traffic has declined over the last two years, while the number of consumers paying full price has increased 1% each year.
The situation was reversed three years ago.
Now, increased focus on healthful eating and premium options has shifted emphasis from dollar-menu offerings to more upscale foods. And fewer people consider combo meals to be true discount options, especially after years of being conditioned to their presence on menus, NPD said.
Coupons, discounts and senior citizen deals, however, are on the upswing.
"As has been historically the case, when deals are in the marketplace for an extended period of time, consumers tend to expect them or see them as everyday price and not as a deal," NPD analyst Bonnie Riggs said in a statement.