The research shows that 25% of diners will choose a restaurant because they are regulars, correlating to 2.8 billion restaurant visits per year.
Other reasons given for choosing a restaurant include convenience of location (37%) and good pricing (24%), but habitual visits were the fastest growing, having risen by 10.6% since 2015.
The amount of diners who choose a restaurant based on convenience of location has only risen by 4.3%, while the number of people who prioritise good value for money has only risen by 2.8%.
The research also shows that when an app is offered for ordering ahead for pick up in-store, consumers are less inclined to be loyal.
Levels of habitual visits involving an app for pick up are currently much lower, at 17%, than is the case overall at 24%.
Apps can disrupt consumer habits as they offer convenience, short-term discounts, money-off vouchers, and freebies, and according to foodservice director Cyril Lavenant, are worth considering by operators.
“The frequency at which British adults eat out has declined by nearly 4% over the last decade. Competition is fierce, and anybody in the foodservice industry is under significant pressure constantly to improve,” says Lavenant.
“Operators cannot afford to be complacent, or confuse consumer habit with consumer loyalty. When consumers have a good experience they come back for more, but when that experience disappoints, there are plenty of other choices out there.”