Nearly one thousand Finns took part in the extensive study, which was the first to examine consumers and restaurants in Finland at this level of detail and magnitude.
“We have clearly reached a point in Finnish food culture in which eating out has become a normal, everyday thing. People no longer eat out only on special occasions or for occasional indulgence: as much as 57% of Finns visit restaurants spontaneously, and 67% say they eat out mainly in order to spice up routines,” says Jerry Tiittala, District Director at Kespro.
Finns are practical when choosing a restaurant
According to Tiittala, Finns tend to be quite practical when choosing and eating at a restaurant:
“A good price-to-quality ratio emerged as the top selection criterion, and it affected the choice of restaurant for 83% of people. Convenient location was the second biggest factor (58% of respondents) and ease of experience (53%) the third. The high quality of food was the fourth main selection criterion (42%),” says Tiittala.
As much as 71% of Finns said that they had not gone back to a restaurant where the food had not matched their expectations. Most people (72%) said that they actively seek information about restaurants in advance. Young people focus especially on speciality diets and, for example, clearly seek more information on vegetarian options than the rest of the population.
“According to our study, 31% of consumers feel that they do not have an interesting restaurant nearby. A more versatile selection of restaurants is something we at Kespro want to promote by producing research data on trends to help develop the Finnish restaurant culture,” says Tiittala.
Finns fall into four categories of restaurant eaters
The study identified four types of restaurant eaters, which we have categorised using data from both this study and a K Group study on grocery purchases.
- Practical eaters (41%): Do not approach eating at a restaurant with any passion, but rather view eating as means of “fuelling up”. Often eat at lunch restaurants and service stations. Social interaction a less relevant part of the restaurant experience than for the other groups. Predominantly men. Young adults least represented in this group.
- Spontaneous experience-seekers (21%): Eat out because they are busy. Actively seek information on restaurant options. Do not feel that the food needs to be pricy to offer interesting experiences. Predominately young adults, spend considerable amounts of money on eating out.
- Quality-focused hedonists (19%): Out of all the groups, spend the most time and money on eating out. Demand high quality and follow restaurant reviews. View restaurants as places for social interaction. Predominantly women (75%) and people living in bigger cities.
- Home cooks (19%): Eat out less than average, prefer home cooking and e.g. bring their own lunch to work. Rarely eat out, but when they do, search for a lot of information beforehand to ensure a good experience. Predominantly families with children, women, and people over 35.
Download the complete study (in Finnish):
* The study was conducted in a consumer panel in K Group’s Kylä customer community between 25 April and 4 May 2019. Respondents comprised 985 consumers between the ages of 18 and 70. The sample was weighed afterwards to be representative of the Finnish population in terms of age, gender and area of residence. Interviews were also conducted with seven restaurant professionals. The study was commissioned by Kespro and carried out by Frankly Partners.