According to BigHospitality's sister publication M&C Allegra Foodservice, the latest survey for the tracker shows 29 per cent of those polled say they now visit a wider range of venues than last year, with 21 per cent visiting a narrower range.
In the 18-24-year-old bracket, 51 per cent are visiting a wider range of places and in the 25-34-year-old demographic the figure is 37 per cent, compared to 27 per cent of 35-44-year-olds, 25 per cent of 45-54-year-olds and 23 per cent of those aged 55+.
The findings are backed up M&C Allegra Foodservice’s Eating Out panel data, which shows Millennial Movers making waves in the market.
M&C Allegra director of insight Steve Gotham said: “Our EOP findings show that 18-24-year-olds are the most active eaters out – with average frequencies of 28 meal occasions out per month – three times the level of 50+ year olds. We have also seen that growth in frequency over the past year has been strongest (marginally) among this age group. It has also been strong in all under 50 age groups.
“Their high frequency will also be associated with the widest repertoires, so as noted, this highlights the challenge/opportunity of capturing greater loyalty from this younger demographic – and while this needs a multi-faceted approach, social media needs to be leveraged skilfully.
“Younger consumers do not spend so much per visit of course compared with older adults – but are prepared to be more adventurous with what they eat. Operators need to be very clear about their target markets and position themselves accordingly – in such an increasingly competitive marketplace – getting this wrong will be costly.”
The tracker also found that 33 per cent of adults eating out less in the evenings now than they did two years ago while 12 per cent are eating out more frequently in the day. This finding is particularly pronounced for those living in households with children, 38 per cent of whom state that they eat out in the evening less frequently. Bucking the trend, however, 32 per cent of 18-24s state that they eat out more frequently with 23 per cent saying less frequently. This group therefore seems vital in driving evening food led occasions.
The tracker revealed that, despite consumers mixing up their choices when eating out, pubs remain central destinations for consumers. The data shows that pubs are the most popular location for an evening meal with 40 per cent claiming this to be their establishment type of choice for this occasion, ahead of restaurants.