When choosing a restaurant, consumers around the world say they are most likely to base their decision on the type of cuisine served, and more than one quarter (27%) opt for their local cuisine over international fare when dining out, a global survey by The Nielsen Company has revealed.
According to the study conducted to uncover out-of-home dining habits of consumers, Nielsen findings revealed that 67 percent of Malaysians dine at restaurants at least once a week, with weekday restaurant visits occurring slightly more frequently than weekends—an unusual trend seen only in three of the 14 Asia Pacific countries. The other two markets where this trend was reflected are Hong Kong and Japan. (Charts 1 & 2)
“Traditional Malaysian families in general are quite large and close-knit, and dinners tend to be a family affair. It is very common for large households to come together to enjoy good home-cooked meals in the evening,” commented Chew Li Sa, Associate Director, Consumer Research, The Nielsen Company Malaysia. “Having said this, dining out in a large group also means greater expense, and as such, price tends to be more of a concern for some groups of consumers who are more cost-conscious,” Ms Chew added.
Over half (51%) of respondents from Malaysia indicated that reasonably price food, along with the type of cuisine (47%), were the two main factors that influenced their choice of restaurant. (Chart 3) These findings are aligned with global, and Asia Pacific trends, which also reported type of cuisine and reasonably priced food as the top two considerations.
Asked what their favourite fare was when dining out, consumers the world over said their preference was for local cuisine (27%), while traditional international favourites Chinese and Italian were close runners up (26% and 17% respectively). The only exceptions were the Australians and Singaporeans who nominated Chinese as their favourite cuisine above their local fare, although preferences in Singapore are likely driven by ethnicity, with Singapore’s population made up of 75 percent Chinese. (Chart 4)
The majority of global consumers (44%) dine out between one and three times per week, although as many as 38 percent only enjoy a meal out-of-home once a month or less. Consumers in Asia Pacific dined out more frequently than consumers in other regions. In Malaysia, two-fifths (42%) of respondents eat at restaurants nearly, if not, everyday, or even more than once a day! (Chart 1)
“The frequency of out-of-home dining in different countries very much reflects local cultures,” observes Ms Chew. “While many Asian countries place emphasis on out-of-home socialising, the European culture is more focused on sharing a meal around the family table. However, the survey findings also provide insight into where the main impact of the global financial meltdown has been felt, with Europeans more likely to be tightening their belts and curbing their out-of-home entertainment, while Asia has been less affected.”
In Asia Pacific, consumers were most likely to enjoy a restaurant meal with family and friends (58%), while a further 21 percent said they most often dined out with their partners. For six in ten (60%) Malaysians, the most common dining companion are family and friends. A quarter (17%) of local respondents dine out most often with their partners, while yet 15 percent dine with work colleagues. (Chart 5)
About The Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey
The Nielsen Global Online Survey is the largest half-yearly survey of its kind, aimed at gauging current confidence levels, spending habits/intentions and current major concerns of consumers across the globe. The latest survey, conducted in November 2007, polled over 26,000 internet users in 52 markets from Europe, Asia Pacific, the Americas and the Middle East.
About The Nielsen Company
The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek). The privately held company is active in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA. For more information, please visit www.nielsen.com.