According to the latest Horizons’ Menu Trends report, the average price of an adult’s meal in a pub was £18.74 this summer – down from £19.19 last year.
In restaurants a three course meal was £21.55 – 14p cheaper than a year ago; and in hotels the average cost was £27.09 compared to £26.20 in 2014.
The fall in cost of two course meal at a quick service restaurant was the most pronounced at £8.55 compared to £9.85 last year.
The price decreases have mostly been on starters (down 2.2 per cent) and puddings (down 4.2 per cent) while main courses fell by around 1.1 per cent.
The report showed menus feature 45 per cent more side dishes compared to a year ago with add-ons including sauces, toppers and sides to boost average consumer spend.
The cost of a meal in a high street pub, restaurant, hotel or quick service restaurant suggests it is now comparatively cheaper to eat out than 12 months ago, with meal deals offered at 61 per cent of branded operators.
Nicola Knight, Horizons’ analyst said: “The fact these price changes vary according to the type of outlet, and even the brand, show that there is a degree of price engineering going on as the price increases don’t relate to changing food costs or increases in overheads.
“What we are seeing is operators ensuring their offer is competitive compared to other outlets, and that they are perceived as being cheaper.”