The number of people eating out hit its highest level since last June in the first two weeks of September, with pubs the main beneficiary, research has revealed.
Consultancy FMCG's regular QuickBite consumer eating out tracking survey showed that the number of meals eaten outside the home was 213 million - up 2.65% up on the same time last year.
While the casual dining segment of the market posted a 40% lift on last September's poor showing, pubs led the recovery in eating out, outperforming the table-service market for the first time in more than 18 months, the report revealed.
David Humphreys, director at FMCG, said: "Behind the strong September performance of the eating out market lie two key facts: the number of people eating out was at its highest since June last year, and people have resumed eating out more often."
Humphreys suggested that the latest data reflects a counter-reaction by the consumer to the enduring economic gloom.
"Consumers have now temporarily abandoned big-ticket expenditure in favour of short-term indulgence spending as an antidote to the depressing economic climate and outlook," he said. "However, consumer eating out sentiment remains fragile as measured by our forward expectations monitor."
By Daniel Thomas
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