The latest Leisure Wallet report from Zolfo Cooper, an advisory and restructuring specialist, which polls more than 2,000 consumers, found that people are spending 7.3% more per visit at restaurants and 4.2% more at pubs, with the average spend per visit now standing at £17.06 and £15.30 respectively.
However, the rise in spending comes at the same time as consumers report a decrease in the number of visits, suggesting that the rising cost of eating and drinking out, amid on-going duty rises and significant retail price inflation, is prompting people to go out less often to restaurants and pubs.
Paul Hemming, partner at Zolfo Cooper, said: “It is the increasing cost of going out that is driving the increased spend rather than an extra indulgence by the consumer. The reality is that over the five consumer studies we have undertaken since summer 2010 each wave has seen a further drop in overall leisure spend. This means the market continues to shrink which will inevitably lead to more business failures.”
Tim Martin, founder and chairman of JD Wetherspoon, said: “It seems clear to me from the figures contained in this report show that the rising cost of going to the pub, from alcohol duty increases and January 2011’s VAT rise, is impacting how often people visit.”
Martin said that his company paid more than £500m in taxes in 2012 – 43% of its annual turnover – and that pubs “can’t carry on taking these tax increases”.
For once there was good news for the nightclub business, as the consumer sample indicated that more people were going clubbing, spending more money, more often.
The report found that the key 18 -24 age group are spending an average of £28 on each of their 2.7 visits a month, an increase of more than 15% in spend.
Hemming said: “This is the part of the market that has been most heavily impacted by the downturn, so it is a welcome boost that 18-24 year olds in particular are feeling confident enough to start spending more when they go clubbing.”
Other key findings showed that at £847, Londoners spend the most on eating out annually; 53% of the working population buy a sandwich from a shop at least once a week; and 66% of the full-time workforce do not ever use a staff canteen.