Restaurants and pubs express caution as average spend per visit rises

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Visitors to restaurants and pubs are now spending more per visit than ever before but the number of visits is dropping, according to new figures from Zolfo Cooper Leisure
Visitors to restaurants and pubs are now spending more per visit than ever before but the number of visits is dropping, according to new figures from Zolfo Cooper Leisure
Hospitality operators have given a lukewarm welcome to the news that the average spend per visit to restaurants and pubs has risen by warning that the total number of visits is actually on the wane due to the rising cost of going out.

The results of a new study of more than 2,000 consumers conducted by the advisory and restructuring specialist Zolfo Cooper suggest people are spending significantly more each time they visit their local eatery or boozer.

The average spend per visit to restaurants jumped by 7.3 per cent in 2012, the rise was 4.2 per cent in pubs.

Increasing cost

"It is the increasing cost of going out that is driving the increased spend rather than an extra indulgence by the consumer," Paul Hemming, a partner at Zolfo Cooper who heads up the corporate advisory services division, said of the figures.

Consumers now spend £17.06 on average each time they visit a restaurant and £15.30 when they head to a pub.

However Hemming argued the rise should be placed in the context of a reported drop in the number of visits people actually make to hospitality establishments.

"The reality is that over the five consumer studies we have undertaken since summer 2010 each wave has seen a further drop in overall leisure spend.

"This means the market continues to shrink which will inevitably lead to more business failures," he said.

Taxing impact

Reacting to the figures, a number of restaurant and pub operators have warned of the impact increased taxation is having on the cost of going out.

Tim Martin, founder and chairman of JD Wetherspoon, said the company paid 43 per cent of its 2012 turnover (more than £500m) in tax this year. 

"It seems clear to me from the figures contained in this report that the rising cost of going to the pub, from alcohol duty increases and January 2011’s VAT rise, is impacting how often people visit."

The Zolfo Cooper Leisure Wallet 2012 Report in figures:

  • 59 per cent of people are against a minimum price per unit scheme for alcohol
  • 60 per cent of respondents think supermarkets should not be prevented from discounting alcohol
  • Nearly 80 per cent of people now book their hotel online, while 68 per cent use the internet to do research
  • On average, respondents have written two online reviews of a hotel experience in the past six months 
  • Just 14 per cent of diners decide where to eat based on discount vouchers

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