Industry News | April 29, 2009

DQ Survey: Americans Still Eating Out

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A recent national survey administered by Harris Interactive on behalf of Dairy Queen, a Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA/BRKB) company, revealed that almost half of U.S. adults (46 percent) are eating out at restaurants about the same or more as they did one year ago.

Celebrities including the Oracle of Omaha himself, Warren Buffett, and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban also weighed in independently of the survey, which was commissioned to discover just how the economy has affected dining decisions.

Cuban, who several years ago took a challenge to manage a Dairy Queen for a day, says he would most likely take advantage of a value menu when asked about different economic incentives to eating out at a restaurant. He's not alone according to the survey:

A majority (89 percent) of those that eat out in restaurants say that when dining out they would take advantage of discounts including value meals, coupons, frequent custom cards/membership programs, etc.

When it comes to choosing a restaurant, almost three quarters of adults (71 percent) said price and menu variety were the most important factors in determining their choice of restaurant.

“Today more than ever consumers look for value, price and menu variety which is exactly why we introduced Sweet Deals, our new, permanent value menu,” says Michael Keller, chief brand officer for International Dairy Queen, Inc.

“Sales have been trending up since we launched Sweet Deals and this survey supports the fact that people still like to treat themselves, but are taking the extra time to find the best value.”

Sweet Deals allows Dairy Queen customers to mix and match nine menu items, choosing two for $3, three for $4 or four for $5. The menu combines both food and treats and gives customers the opportunity to customize their orders, not only in terms of what they would like to order but also how much they would like to order, how much they would like to spend and how much they would like to save. The menu includes a classic cheeseburger, all-beef hot dog, premium chicken wrap, regular sized French fries and onion rings, medium soft drink, side salad, and a small sundae or dipped cone.

What’s Buffett’s classic Sweet Deal? When visiting his favorite Dairy Queen in Omaha, he opts for the four for $5 Sweet Deals meal, a combination of a cheeseburger, chicken wrap, medium beverage, and a sundae.

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.