Consumers eating-out more but spending less

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Diners are increasingly prioritising value when eating-out
Diners are increasingly prioritising value when eating-out

Related tags: Macroeconomics

Consumer spending in restaurants rose 17 per cent year-on-year in first quarter of 2015, though average transaction values fell, according to the latest Barclaycard consumer spending report.

Diners prioritise value

A rise in cost conscious consumers saw the average transaction at restaurants fall -5.4 per cent year-on-year, with value seeking diners increasingly shunning fine-dining in favour of pubs.

Thirty-six per cent of consumers said they never eat at a fine-dining restaurant, while 40 per cent said they eat in a pub at least once a month.

“Landlord companies have invested £400m in pubs over the last couple of years to improve their attractiveness to consumers. For drink, it’s about providing a high quality [and variety]. For food, it’s become ‘everyday’ as opposed to ‘special-occasion’ eating out,” said Andy Slee, external affairs and central operations director at Punch Taverns.

The findings reinforce recent research from NPD Group​, which reported that the number of Britons selecting an outlet based on low prices rose from nine to 25 per cent from 2008-2014.

Q2 spending

The eating-out sector looks set to remain strong in to the next quarter, with 24 per cent of consumers planning to visit more restaurants in the next three months.

However, the outlook for wider growth is mixed, with uncertainty over the looming general election result a cause for consumer concern.

Fifty-six per cent of consumers said they were concerned about the impact of the general election on their finances, with one-in-five delaying a major purchase until the result was decided.

Staff shortages

Despite continued growth in the foodservice sector​, BigHospitality has reported that staff shortages worsened in March.

KPMG partner and head of business services Bernard Brown warned that ‘the pervasive skills shortage could put the brakes on economic growth if it continues unabated’.

Barclaycard’s report was based upon data from debit and credit card transactions between 28 December 2014 and 28 March 2015, as well as a March 2015 survey of 2000 consumers by partners Longitude Research.

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