Consumers treat themselves by eating out more

The latest Eating Out-Look survey from Horizons reveals that confidence is returning to the sector with eating out up 4% compared with last summer.

The main findings are:

  • Eating out has increased year-on-year with 71% of respondents having eaten out in the previous two weeks (up from 67%)
  • Average spend has dropped to £12.72 from £13.30
  • The use of takeaways or home delivery has risen from 16% to 19%
  • Convenience is the main reason people eat out (27%)
  • 12% of respondents look for vegetarian options when they eat out
  • Quality of the food is the main reason people choose particular venues

Consumers are eating out more often this summer, than they did this time last year, with 71% of respondents to the Horizons’ survey saying they had eaten out in the past two weeks, a clear sign that confidence is returning to the sector.

The Eating Out-Look survey, conducted online by YouGov amongst 2,366 respondents, reveals that convenience (27%) and conviviality (26%) are the most frequently cited reasons for eating out amongst those who have done so, but increasingly consumers report that they opt for meals out or takeaways because they don’t want to cook themselves (25%), are hungry (20%) or because meals out represent good value for money (17%).

However, while the number of survey respondents eating out in the previous two weeks has risen from 67% in June 2013 to 71% in July 2014, average spend has dropped year-on-year from £13.30 to £12.72.

“Although frequency of eating out is still below pre-recession levels, the increase in penetration and frequency of eating out indicates that the sector is no longer in decline,” commented Horizons’ director of services Nicola Knight.

“The fact average spend has dropped slightly suggests that there is a greater willingness amongst consumers to intersperse special occasion meals with more everyday purchases.”

Rachel Ferguson of hospitality PR communications consultancy Pelican Communications commented: “It’s encouraging to see some good news from the foodservice sector, however it remains to be seen if the increase is a result of the recent good weather or a long-term trend that can be maintained.”

Pelican Communications are specialists in the environmentfood and drinkoutdoor and leisure and packaging sectors and offer a range of services such as media relations, brand management, event management and people developmentContact us for marketing and communications expertise.