There was less cheers for operators this Christmas as consumers cut back on spending, according to new research.
Horizons' QuickBite survey found that 68% of respondents dined out over the festive period, compared to 72% the previous year.
The YouGov survey of 2032 adults found that a third of adults didn't eat out in the two weeks over Christmas, with expense being the most common explanation.
On average respondents ate out 1.83 times in the period, down on 2011s figure of 2.1. However when they did go out spending was up, with an average spend of £14.55 compared to £13.80.
While the number of people eating out in London decreased (from 74% to 71%) the Midlands saw an increase of 4% to 75%. Those least likely to eat out were respondents in Wales and Scotland, although the biggest spike in average spend was north of the border at £16.40.
Emma Read, director of marketing and business development at Horizons said that consumers were now treating eating out as more of an occasion. "This increase in spend is good news for the sector but it is more important to businesses that people continue to eat out frequently," she added. "The downturn over Christmas will have affected turnover for establishments who would previously have relied on a strong end to the year."
Pubs continued to increase in popularity, accounting for 20% of dining experiences.
Respondents that were 25 to 34 years of age ate out the most often but were the lowest spenders, while those over 55 ate out the least.
By James Stagg
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