Consumers are continuing to eat out during the recession but they are choosing cheaper outlets with attractive money-off deals, reveals latest research by Horizons.
"The eating out market is unlikely to improve into 2010. The cost-conscious consumer is here to stay and that consumer is looking for value-for-money and attractive offers. Most operators - particularly the high street restaurant chains and pub operators - are doing a great job of adapting to this," said Horizons' managing director Peter Backman.
Latest pub chain results confirm this with like for like sales at Greene King pubs growing by 8.1%; Whitbread's pub restaurants sales increased by 2.1% with value-for-money offers attracting 7.2% more customers and last week J D Wetherspoon reported an increase in like-for-like sales of 5.8% (news 11 September).
The market analyst also found that spend at quick service restaurants has grown from 41.2% to 42.2% which Backman said shows the growing popularity of fast food outlets and takeaways.
"The consumer of 2010 will be paying off more debt, taking on less borrowing and tightening the purse strings when it comes to discretionary spend. Average spend is likely to drop further still so the challenge for foodservice operators going forward is to keep people coming through the door with innovative deals and interesting menus without jeopardising margins," he added.
By Emma White
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