A recent study of 1,500 patrons (consumers who eat out at restaurants) identified habits and opinions of restaurant patrons related to potatoes. The survey was sourced by Sterling-Rice Group, one of the marketing/advertising agencies Potatoes USA work with.
As reported in the latest Potatoes USA Pulse newsletter, the study uncovered potato dishes consumers love to order when eating out, potato dishes they choose to swap in place of other options presented to them, and their overall expectations regarding potatoes at restaurants.
An astounding 53% of consumers surveyed said they are willing to pay an average of $5.20 more for a main dish with potatoes than without them, regardless of the format. The amount they are willing to pay increases as the restaurant’s quality increases. This is excellent news for the potato industry and foodservice operators because it helps a restaurant’s bottom line and increases the demand for potatoes.
Over half of the patrons surveyed (60%) expect to see potatoes on menus, second only to beef. Potatoes are such a staple that patrons are disappointed when potatoes are not on the menu. This expectation is higher in casual dining (e.g., Applebee’s, Outback Steakhouse) and midscale restaurants (e.g., Huddle House, Cracker Barrel) than in fast food restaurants (e.g., McDonald’s, Wendy’s), primarily due to more expansive menu offerings.
Potatoes are ordered primarily due to their taste, as well as for being satisfying, flavorful, and satiating (fills you up).
Fries reign supreme; 82% of consumers report they order fries at least occasionally. Mashed potatoes and hash browns are the second and third most popular potato dishes at restaurants. Green salads, pasta, and rice are most likely to replace potatoes on the menu; however, consumers often substitute green salads with potatoes too.