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Recession causes fearful diners to avoid restaurants

By Becky Paskin , 16-Apr-2009

Recession causes fearful diners to avoid restaurants

The majority of consumers are cutting back on eating out through fear for their own financial well-being

The majority of consumers plan to spend less on eating out at restaurants for the foreseeable future through fear of the recession’s effect on their own financial situations.

 

According to a report by market analysts Mintel , less than half of consumers have been personally affected by the recession, yet two-thirds are prepared to cut their spending on eating and drinking out.

 

James McCoy, head of consumer research at Mintel, said that fear of the recession alone could cause ‘major spending adjustments,’ whether or not they had been directly affected or not.

 

“A significant three in ten adults have cut back on their spending not because they have to, but mainly through fear of how the recession might affect them," he said. "Even if someone hasn’t been personally affected by the recession, knowing others who have been affected can shake a person’s confidence. In these difficult times, it is evident that consumers are changing their spending behaviour and adapting, whether or not it’s necessary.”

 

While the research also shows that consumers are cutting back on drinking out of the home (59 per cent), meals served in pubs and bars are still popular, with the market being the largest within the eating out sector with sales of £7.6bn in 2008.

 

The report also showed that over half of adults planned to continue eating out at a bar or pub on a regular basis, a finding that Nick Bish, chief executive of the ALMR , said reflects Briton’s rediscovery of what the great British pub has to offer.

 

“In the middle of economic gloom, these figures show that the pub remains the last bastion for many consumers,” he said. “Yes, they are going out less, but when they do, they are rediscovering a great value night out. The challenge to the industry – and indeed government - is not to make consumers feel safe about spending again, but to give them more bang for their buck. It works for pub food, it can work for pub drink too.”

 

The report also showed that the eating out market in the UK was valued at £31.1bn in 2008 with an average consumer spend of £10 per week.

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