Eating out spend in restaurants, pubs and cafes rose by 3 percentage points in the third quarter of the year (Q3) compared to Q2, and six percentage points from Q1, according to new research from business advisory firm Deloitte.
This was the biggest rise in the leisure sector, including culture, entertainment, live sporting events, betting and gaming. Overall, despite political and economic uncertainty, consumers appear to be continuing to spend on experiences, such as holidays and days out, rather than goods.
Speeding things up
But even though spending stayed high, separate research by Barclaycard found that consumers valued speed of service (37 per cent valued this) even more than menu choice (33 per cent) and value (21 per cent), with pressure mounting on businesses to speed up the process.
Barclaycard found that 26 per cent of consumers now eat out or order food at least once a week (rising to 36 per cent for 18-34 year-olds), with six in ten saying they get frustrated if they are forced to wait too long for an order, either in a restaurant or for a takeaway meal.
More than one in ten consumers were found to be more likely to choose establishments that offer contactless payment (15 per cent), the choice to pre-order and pay via an app, whether for delivery or in-house (15 per cent), and payment via mobile device at the table (14 per cent).
Almost half of consumers (49 per cent) said they became impatient if asked to wait too long to pay after a meal.
Simon Oaten, partner for hospitality and leisure at Deloitte, said: “A key reason for the sector’s robustness is due to the growth of habitual leisure spend over the last few years. Leisure, whether in or out of the home, is now part of the daily routine for the vast majority of UK consumers.”
Sharon Manikon, customer solutions director at Barclaycard said: “Time is of the essence for today’s busy Brits and this need for speed now seems to be translating to the dining experience. Eating out and ordering food in are increasingly becoming the norm, with consumers turning to restaurants and delivery services to provide quick and easy meal-time options.”
Technology was also highlighted as a key priority for businesses, with apps ‒ including those allowing personal touches such as personalised offers, money off, or services that allowed big groups to split the bill easily ‒ also mentioned as attractive options for restaurants to keep their guests happy.