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.
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.
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.