Hispanics' growing impact on food service

by Monica Watrous
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To appeal to the growing Hispanic demographic, restaurant operators and suppliers should emphasize healthy eating, authenticity, and connection to family.

CHICAGO — The Hispanic population is growing — and so is its use of food service.

Hispanic consumers increasingly are visiting restaurants, with 41% now using food service at least twice weekly, up from 36% in 2013, according to industry tracker Technomic, Inc., Chicago. Moreover, they are expected to represent nearly 30% of the total U.S. population by 2060.

To appeal to this growing demographic, restaurant operators and suppliers should emphasize healthy eating, authenticity, and connection to family, all of which resonate with this consumer group, Technomic said.

“Hispanics prioritize eating meals with family, and they feel strongly that restaurants are an ideal place to spend time with family,” said Sara Monnette, senior director of consumer insights for Technomic. “There is a greater opportunity to gain Hispanics’ loyalty, as they’re visiting food service locations, especially coffee shops and family-style concepts, more often than the general population.”

Word of mouth is especially important to Hispanic consumers, 46% of whom often ask friends and family for restaurant recommendations, which compares with 29% of the general population.

A growing number of Hispanic consumers think American-style restaurants should offer more Hispanic flavors on the menu. The top Hispanic-style entrees they are most likely to order are carne asada (54%), burritos (42%) and fajitas or tacos (37%).
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