This will mark a growth of over £10b for the sector, Horizons managing director Peter Backman announced at the company's annual briefing, held yesterday (10 March). This prediction came as the company showed that the sector had grown by 2.9% in real terms (and 3.8% including inflation) in 2014, giving it a total current value of £46.6b.
Factors such as increased job certainty, low inflation, and less exposure to problematic borrowing meant the eating out sector could look forward to good news, and higher growth levels than those seen since before the economic crisis hit in 2008, said Backman.
This applied especially to establishments such as pizza delivery companies, managed branded pubs, pub restaurants and coffee shops, he said.
He added that margins were improving, and that businesses would now be in a stronger position when it comes to investing, changing hands, rebranding or expanding.
He said: "While [the eating out sector] is not racing ahead, it is growing at a higher level than we have seen since before the economic downturn. Overall things are looking good for the UK's foodservice market with group operators driving much of that growth."
The company also said that the average spend per three-course meal across the UK as a whole had risen to £14.48, that customers aged 35-44 were eating out more than ever before, and that regional cities such as Leeds, Manchester and Bristol offered much scope for development.
The study also identified major trends within the sector, including foods focused on world cuisines such as Vietnamese, Peruvian and Egyptian, plus those catering for health and well-being, and, conversely, those offering particularly indulgent choices. It also said there was still room for growth within the coffee sector.
Brands identified by Horizons as "ones to watch" across the UK high street included Fuel Juice Bars, Pieminster, Dunkin' Donuts, Wafflemeister, Abokado, and Tortilla Mexican Grill.
Summarising the event's message, Backman warned operators to "keep in touch with the way people are eating out now and the products they want - the market is changing all the time and if you don't offer what they want, someone else will".
The annual briefing was held at the London headquarters of global law firm, Dentons.