British consumers have cut back on how often they dine out but are spending more when they do, research has found.
According to the Quickbite survey from food service analyst firm Horizons, which questioned more than 1,400 consumers, there has been a 26% decline in the number of times people eat out. On average diners now visit food service outlets just once a week compared, with 1.4 times a week last year.
But despite this drop in the number of restaurant visits, consumer spending on eating out has risen 9% in the past year, with an average meal including drinks now costing £12.69, compared with £11.53 in 2010.
Diners' choice of venue is no longer influenced by discount vouchers or other marketing offers, with a third (31%) of consumers saying they choose a restaurant out of habit. Nearly a quarter (22%) said they choose venues spontaneously, while 14% said they mainly rely on recommendation.
"This is an important finding for those operators currently caught in a price war of money-off vouchers and special offers. While 11% of respondents to our survey were influenced by offers, loyalty to a particular venue and recommendations seem more important in their choice of venue," said Emma Read, director of marketing and business development at Horizons.
Pubs were the most popular venues, with nearly a fifth of diners opting to dine out in pubs, while take-aways and home delivery-outlets came in second place ahead of Indian and Chinese restaurants.
By Kerstin Kühn
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