In September last year a Quickbite survey by consultancy Horizons found that 55 per cent of consumers do not base their decision to eat out on the availability of a money-off deal.
But in its latest survey, which questioned 1,400 people, Horizons found that just 11 per cent of respondents were influenced by vouchers.
More important to consumers when choosing a venue to eat out was habit (31 per cent), and spontaneity (22 per cent), while 14 per cent said recommendations were the main factor.
Emma Read, director of marketing and business development at Horizons, said: “This is an important finding for those operators currently caught in a price war of money-off vouchers and special offers. While 11 per cent of respondents to our survey were influenced by offers, loyalty to a particular venue and recommendations seem more important in their choice of venue.”
Bucking the trend of recent years, the survey also found that consumers are eating out less frequently than before, but increasing their spend when they do.
Diners are now eating out an average of once per week, a 26 per cent decline on the same period last year when they were eating out 1.4 times a week.
The results contrast those found in a 2009 Quickbite survey which showed an increase in the number of times consumers ate out but a reduction in spend on alcohol and desserts.
Almost a third of people who had eaten out in the last two weeks said they did so for convenience, over a quarter of people said it was to be sociable, 25 per cent did so because they would rather not cook at home, 23 per cent for a special occasion, and 17 per cent because it was good value for money.
However the average spend per meal head has increased by £1.16 to £12.69, a rise Horizons attributes to soaring food prices.
“The results of the survey demonstrate that while consumers may have cut back on their eating out spend, it is still a very strong habit for reasons of convenience, sociability and value for money,” Read added.
“The fact diners are still eating out at least once a week demonstrates that eating out is entrenched in our way of life and is no longer necessarily seen as a treat.”
Men were found to spend more on a meal than women, at £13.77 per head compared to £11.70.
The survey also found that a fifth of consumers are currently choosing pub restaurants as their preferred place to dine out, with takeaways the second most popular. Quick service restaurants and Chinese and Indian restaurants came an equal third.