Aussies spend big on ethnic restaurants

Australians are spending nearly $6 billion of their dining-out budget in ethnic restaurants.

This food category (both quick service and full service) now accounts for almost $6 billion of consumer spending within the $44 billion Australian foodservice industry, a 13 per cent traffic share within the industry.

That’s an increase of almost $700 million since 2009, according to a CREST study released by the NPD Group, a leading global research company.

While overall ethnic food sales have had a 13 per cent lift over the last seven years, the  ‘QSR Other Ethnic’ category (all ethnic fast food such as Mexican, Turkish, Indian, Greek and Italian but not East Asian) has seen the swiftest growth since 2014.  Sales in this category have increased by 63% over the last seven years, more than any other outlet category.

And it’s being driven by the spending power and choices of the Millennials who are the biggest customer demographic; over the last 12 months they accounted for 53 per cent of ethnic fast food visits.

The report reveals that consumers choosing ethnic meals are more concerned with the food itself than the price. Most consumers surveyed select their choices based on wanting to try something different, wanting a specific menu item, looking for a hearty meal, satisfying a special taste or craving, and wanting something healthy to eat.

Gimantha Jayasinghe, NPD deputy managing director said research shows consumers are seeking to enjoy more complex and sophisticated menus, and tastes and expectations will continue to evolve.  “Foodservice operators seeking to gain more visits and grow their bottom line should carefully consider their offerings to attract those that are seeking to spend within the ethnic food category,” he said.

The Foodservice Trends CREST report research looks at trends over a five year period (2013 – 2017) using a sample size of 60,000 Australian consumers who logged daily answers over the course of the research period.