Leisure venue caterers feel the pinch but future looks brighter

14 July 2011
Leisure venue caterers feel the pinch but future looks brighter

The leisure venue catering market is beginning to feel the effects of waning consumer confidence and financial belt tightening, according to new data.

Research from Mintel has found the number of consumers who consider their financial situation "tight" has risen from 21% in mid 2009 to 31% in March 2011. The research also found a concern for finance, with 58% of respondents expressing their worry in March 2011 compared with 48% in November 2009.

Reassuringly the research did find that dining out remains consumers' number one entertainment priority.

Speaking at a briefing organised by event caterer Amadeus, Ben Perkins, head of food and drink research at Mintel, said: "Although the general retail market has seen a decline in sales, our research predicts a steady rise in the market value of leisure venue catering in the coming years, with the value of the industry predicted to climb from £2.1b to almost £2.3b by 2015."

He added that over half of respondents said that special events led them to specific venues, while 48% said that decisions were made through recommendations and internet searches.

Meanwhile, Mintel also baked up the increase in 'fast casual' dining outlined in the Allegra Strategies report, after 37% of people said they preferred to "refuel" rather than sit down for a lengthy meal.

Perkins said that leisure venue caterers could resist the weak economic climate by concentrating on four key areas: local sourcing and traceability, the ability to have a quick snack, the idea of exclusive dining, and healthy options.

Amadeus managing director Alyson Cawley said the caterer used trend analysis to inform its catering offer. She added: "From the findings we can see that despite the current climate, the leisure venue catering industry is strong and consumers still consider eating out a key part of their lifestyle, so as caterers we need to ensure we offer customers the best and most relevant service.

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