According to the results of the survey of 2,105 consumers, the average adult will now eat out almost three times during a two-week period, while the figure was just over twice last year, indicating that eating out is becoming engrained in UK culture.
Pub restaurants accounted for 19 per cent of those visits with takeaway and home delivery outlets following close behind (17 per cent). Italian restaurants were most popular with 9 per cent the consumers when asked about their eating habits over the last two weeks.
Paul Backman, director of services at Horizon's, said it was surprising that despite the difficult economy and a lack of money to spend, consumers were eating out more regularly, indicating that many see it as an affordable luxury.
He said pubs serving food were likely to be the greatest beneficiaries of the trend for eating out more for a number of reasons, namely because they had adapted well to the market by offering good value and deals, were hubs of the local community and generally catered for different markets.
He said: "Pubs have that local feel and many will be sourcing local produce for their menus which taps into that trend. People like to support their local community when times are tough and they also have to travel less to get there. There's also a 'bulldog spirit' running through the UK at the moment and the pub is a real British institution, so people want to support it.
"Pubs run by the big pub groups have also reacted well to the financial climate and have focused on providing good value, such as offering two main courses for £10 or giving away a free ice cream with a meal.
"They have done well to attract the family market too. The smoking ban has led to many having to change their focus, but it also means they can be more family-friendly."
Average spend declines
While diners may be choosing to eat-out more often, they are spending less when there. The average spend per head currently stands at £12.30 including drinks compared to £12.69 a year ago. The average spend in pub restaurants and restaurants also dropped to £15.46 in June 2012 from £17 in January 2012.
Londoners spend the most on eating out - an average of £14.59 while those in Wales spend £12.74 and those in the Midlands spend £12.53. The lowest spenders were respondents in Scotland, who spent an average of £11.24 on a meal out.
Backman said: "The fact average spend has fallen is evidence of continued cost cutting - forgoing a course, ordering a glass of wine instead of a bottle, or opting for a sharing dish. The amount of discounting in the sector has also driven down average spend. Pub restaurants, and the large chains in particular, have also been very successful in reducing their prices to improve footfall."
The nation's favourite places to eat-out:
- McDonalds (45 per cent)
- KFC (22 per cent)
- Pizza Express (20 per cent)
- Nando's (19 per cent)
- Pizza Hut (14 per cent)
- JD Wetherspoon (10 per cent)
- Harvester (9 per cent)
- Brewers Fayre (8 per cent)