With the smoking ban introduced in Britain yesterday (1 July), pubs, restaurants and coffee shops are set to benefit from an increased level of eating out, according to the Deloitte Food and Beverage 2012 report.
Despite widespread predications of a dip in trade for pubs once the smoking ban hits, a survey of 1,000 consumers shows one in three are set to eat out more often after the ban.
Glyn Bunting, partner in the hospitality & leisure team at Deloitte, said: "Despite some concerns in the pub and restaurant sector about loss of business when the smoking ban is introduced, our research suggests the ban will encourage rather than deter consumers from eating out."
UK consumers now spend an average of 27% of their weekly food budget on eating out, while 65% purchase a meal outside of home at least once a week.
The most popular locations to dine are restaurants (78%), pubs (51%) and coffee shops (29%). Only 20% of those surveyed said they normally ate out in fast-food outlets.
Availability of healthy food was a key consideration for just 11% of consumers dining out.
Bunting said: "The reality is healthy options are less of a priority than other factors when choosing a restaurant. However, given what is likely to be an accelerating healthy eating bandwagon, it would be wrong for any foodservice operators to become complacent in this area."
By Christopher Walton