Gender Differences at Casual Dining Restaurants Show Women Are More Opinionated and Sharing

Article excerpt

Men and women may both order off the same menus at casual dining restaurants, but there are significant gender differences regarding how and what they eat.

Notably, women are more opinionated, says Technomics' Sara Monnette. "When women are asked to rate on a scale of 1-6 their opinions on the restaurant industry, women most often choose one or six, whereas men tend to respond more neutrally, choosing a middle value," she says. In general, women are most concerned with healthy options and variety, while men want to receive substantial portion sizes relative to price.

How Men And Women Eat

"Women view restaurant occasions as more social, [with] appetizers and desserts [as] the more social parts of the meal," says Monnette. For instance, 86% of women say appetizers are great for sharing, compared to 78% of men. Moreover, 54% like to share desserts at restaurants, compared to 40% of men. Women are also more greatly influenced by others in their dining party, she says.


                                                           Men  Women

Prefer places that offer special deals/promotions          72%   82%

Restaurants need to treat customers better than usual      69%   75%

Level of authenticity at an ethnic restaurant influences   61%   61%
decision to eat there

All places should offer children's menus                   55%   69%

SOURCE: Technomic

Note: Table made from bar graph.


Whereas men are more likely to say they are spending less when visiting a restaurant, women are still ordering the same amount, but have cut back on their visits, finds Technomic.

Furthermore, when women do eat out, they want a good deal. More than eight in 10 women (82%) prefer to dine at restaurants that offer special deals or promotions.

Technomic's recent survey finds that a higher percentage of women take advantage of restaurant promotions, with the exception of free beverage, which 19% of men take advantage of compared to 15% of women.

Yet, Clarence Otis of Darden Restaurants, which operates the Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and Longhorn Steakhouse chains, notes he has seen the industry pull back on its promotional pricing. "I think they didn't get much for it in the traffic sense," he said in a conference call. …