Restaurants face 20% Christmas boost followed by New Year dip
Christmas trading is set to boost the restaurant market by over 20% but consumers are likely to cut their spending again in the New Year due to the continued economic downturn, research has found.
The Quickbite survey of 1,000 consumers by market analyst Horizons said that diners are likely to spend more on eating out in the week before Christmas than they have in any other week of 2009.
However, it warned that they are expected to rein in their spending sharply again in January as the reality of continued economic uncertainty and fear of unemployment takes effect.
Horizons managing director Peter Backman said that, for restaurant operators, December is a crucial period.
"Our research shows that trading for restaurants, quick service restaurants and pubs through December tends to rise by an average of 22%," he said.
"However, we also anticipate that people will cut back much more in January as VAT rises, colder weather and strike action from the likes of BA depress the nation's mood."
Backman added that top-end restaurants are likely to suffer most during January and February, while takeaway operators could see a rise in trade, especially during times of poor weather.
The QuickBite survey found that while eating out increased 8.1% between the second and third quarter of 2009 sales were down 4.2% on the year before.
On average consumers ate out 1.58 times a week, with spend per head up slightly from £10.76 per head in June to £10.80 per head in September.
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By Kerstin Kühn
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