Industry News | March 15, 2011

NRA: Madness is About to Descend Upon Restaurants

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One-fifth of American adults say they plan to visit a restaurant or bar, or order takeout or delivery from one, to watch the men’s national college basketball tournament this year, according to new research by the National Restaurant Association. When it comes to where basketball-watchers will gather for the games—which begin this week—the top choices are eateries that offer special-price deals, and those that have the best televisions.

“Sports-themed establishments are not the only ones catering to college basketball fans—many restaurants and bars will attract a crowd during the upcoming games,” says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association. “More than half of guests are looking for happy hour specials and high-quality television options when selecting a restaurant or bar to cheer on their favorite team, but about one-fifth also look to menu options when choosing where to go.”

Sixteen percent of consumers say they plan to order takeout or delivery from a restaurant to be eaten at their own or someone else’s house while they watch the national college basketball tournament, and 8 percent say they will go out to a restaurant or bar to watch the games. Four percent say they plan to do both.

Men are more likely than women to say they are going out or ordering takeout for the games; 24 percent versus 15 percent. In addition, younger consumers are more likely than older ones to do so; 28 percent of adults ages 18–34 versus less than 15 percent of adults age 55 and older.

Special-price deals, such as happy hour, are the biggest draw for basketball-watching consumers with 34 percent identifying that as their most important factor when choosing a restaurant or bar for the basketball games. Twenty-five percent say they look for the best selection of televisions when choosing where to go, and 19 percent choose the place with the best food and drink choices. In addition, 17 percent pick their favorite restaurant or bar, while 4 percent go where fans of their favorite team gather.

The National Restaurant Association surveyed 1,010 American adults on March 10–13 about their plans for the 2011 men’s college basketball tournament.