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    U.S. Hispanics’ Restaurant Visits Decline

    NPD cites high employment as leading cause

    While total restaurant visits increased by 1 percent in 2012 compared to the prior year, visits by U.S. Hispanics declined by 1 percent, a loss of 86 million visits in total, according to The NPD Group.

    Declines were steepest among less bicultural U.S. Hispanics, who made two percent fewer visits last year than in 2011, according to NPD’s “Crest Hispanic,” which tracks U.S. Hispanics use of restaurants daily. The high unemployment rate among U.S. Hispanics and Latinos, which averaged 10.3 percent in 2012 compared to a national average of 8.1 percent, is likely a factor to their foodservice visit declines, reports NPD.

    In contrast to U.S. Hispanics' visit declines, their average check rose by 4 percent from a year ago. The check increase was due, in part, to their shift away from value menus, most likely due to the change in offerings or price increases, finds “Crest Hispanic.”

    Visit declines by segment show quick service restaurants (QSR) held 84 percent share of U.S. Hispanics' restaurant visits in 2012 -- a 1 percent increase in share from the year-ago period. This compares to the 78 percent share of QSR restaurant visits claimed by non-Hispanic traffic. U.S. Hispanics' use of full-service restaurants is historically below average, and their lagging visits to this segment were even more pronounced in 2012.

    U.S. Hispanics, especially those who are more bicultural, are younger as a group than non-Hispanics. Thirty-four percent of U.S. Hispanic restaurant visitors are between the ages of 18 and 34. This age group, which still comprises the heaviest restaurant user base among Hispanics, cut back on their restaurant visits in 2012 more than any other U.S. Hispanic age group.

    “U.S. Hispanics are an increasingly important customer base for the foodservice industry — they made some 9.6 billion visits in 2012 and spent $63 billion,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst. “Understanding how, why, and when U.S. Hispanics use restaurants and other foodservice outlets can help operators and supplier partners focus on efforts to entice this group to visit.”

    Chicago-based NPD Group provides comprehensive consumer and retail information to more than 2,000 manufacturers, retailers and service companies to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national and local market levels.

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