The UK's ethnic restaurant and takeaway market has suffered a massive decline in business over the past three years, research has found.
Figures from global information company the NPD Group, show that the sector has seen a drop of 123 million in visits since 2009, while sales of spicy foods in supermarkets have soared.
Guy Fielding, director of business development for the NPD Group, said: "Ethnic food may not be perceived as the everyday good value it once was. To compete with the supermarkets, ethnic operators need to change the price/value equation by introducing deals and promotions that resonate with consumers.
"The recession has made consumers more discriminating in the choices they make. Ethnic operators will need to get more sophisticated about the deal and promotion element of the business if they are to turn this decline around."
The vast majority of the drop in visits is due to the decline in evening dining at ethnic restaurants rather than takeaways, which accounts for 121.7 million of the lost 123 million visits in the three-year period.
However, an even greater cause for concern for ethnic restaurants is the revisit intent scores, the report added, with a drop of 17 million people "definitely" choosing to visit again, and almost 12 million less "probably" choosing to revisit compared to 2009.
Fielding added: "These findings are a real wake up call for ethnic restaurant operators to take a hard look at their offering. This not only includes the décor, atmosphere, layout and cleanliness of their establishments, but their service levels and promotions too. It's time to move from dark and dated décor to light and lively to ensure restaurants remain a place where people want to spend time socialising with their friends and family."