Discount vouchers may not be worth restaurants' time and effort, according to new research.
Flying in the face of conventional wisdom - mainly that the UK public is addicted to restaurant vouchers and eating-out deals - the latest QuickBite survey from Horizons suggests the importance of vouchers may have been oversold.
Horizons' research of more than 1,000 consumers found the majority (55%) wouldn't choose a restaurant based on the availability of money-off vouchers or discount deals.
Of those surveyed, only 17% claimed they used discount vouchers or offers, and only a quarter of diners that use vouchers admitted they would eat elsewhere if a deal had not been available.
Horizons' Peter Backman said: "Vouchers are untargeted in that while they persuade a percentage of consumers to dine somewhere they are also being used by more loyal customers who would dine in that restaurant anyway and don't need to be persuaded with money-off vouchers."
Backman said that while deals in the eating-out market had become more sophisticated in the past 18 months, operators still needed to work harder to attract new customers rather than purely rewarding existing ones.
Two-for-one offers are the most common eating-out vouchers used by diners, with money-off coupons and "meal deals" ranking second.
Women (19%) are more likely to use discount vouchers than men (12%), with those under 35 the most common age group to use them.
Some 44% of diners hear about vouchers from friends and acquaintances, with digital communication the second most important method, the majority of which comes from the restaurant.
By Chris Druce
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