The eating out sector saw a fall in diners in the run up to Christmas, but while consumers are eating out less they are spending more, research has found.
The Quickbite survey from market analyst Horizons, which questioned 1,000 consumers, found a 3% drop in diners during the festive period, with the number of times people ate out hitting an all-time low at an average of 2.7 times a week.
However, despite this drop in footfall, there was a rise in consumer spend, according to Horizons' managing director Peter Backman.
"We are seeing a flight to quality with people eating out less but spending more," he said.
"Spend per head at £12.46 is the highest ever recorded, demonstrating this new ‘save-it for something special' approach."
Hardest hit be this trend were coffee shops, pubs and takeaway outlets, while restaurants in the mid and premium sectors were the main beneficiaries.
Backman added that the eating out market was "polarising" and sliding away from coffee bars, sandwich shops and fast food takeaways where spend is less than £5, as well as the value sector where spend is £5-£11.
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By Kerstin KÁ¼hn
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