One in four diners in the UK will only visit a restaurant if it offers a discount, market research has found.
A survey by price comparison website moneysupermarket.com, which questioned more than 5,000 consumers, showed that 26% of diners will choose an establishment offering discounted meals over one that has no special deals.
The research also found that more than 40% of Britons now use restaurant vouchers at least once a month, with high street chains including Pizza Express, Strada and Zizzi the most popular choices.
It further revealed that the corporate market has cut back on business spending during the recession, with traditional high earners such as bankers and lawyers having reduced the number of long lunches by as much as 70%.
Simon James of moneysupermarket.com said: "Restaurant discount vouchers have become increasing popular over the last 12 months or so as the nation's appetite for value has increased."
However, industry experts have warned that operators must be careful not to over-discount during the recession.
It is key for operators to be adaptable and focus on changing menus to maintain margins and removing those costs that don't add value.
By Kerstin Kühn
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