That’s according to the latest Greene King Leisure Spend Tracker report, which said the growth in eating out spend was driven by families, while the decline in drinking out was due to “unseasonably cold weather” particularly during the August bank holiday weekend.
The average household increased spend on total leisure by 22% compared to July, “due to families looking to occupy kids during the summer holidays”. In August, family household spending was at its highest spend level to date at £328. However, there was a 3% decline versus last year.
The research, conducted by YouGov and analysed in conjunction with Trajectory Partners, found there was year-on-year growth across the UK as well as London and the south east, “a positive indication that both areas are moving in tandem as the economy recovers”.
The report says that better forward planning than last year among parents, ahead of the school holidays, helped boost family leisure spending in August. Households with kids, on average, increased spend by £63 (24%) compared to last August. In contrast, those without kids cut spending by £16 (7%) as the weather failed to match last year.
The proportion of total leisure spend dedicated to eating out grew from 37% to 40% between August 2013 and August 2014. Drinking out’s proportion fell from 21% to 20%.
Steve Jebson, Greene King commercial director, said: “With Eating Out up 11% compared to last year, it is clear this activity is becoming an increasingly important part of the British household’s leisure repertoire, particularly in family households.
“We believe the disappointing August weather drove customers to eat inside restaurants rather than in pub ‘beer gardens’. It would also appear that eating out is becoming less of a luxury, but increasingly the preferred way for people to spend their time with friends and family.”
He added; “In spite of continued pressure on real earnings, growing consumer confidence helped drive modest growth in spend on out of home leisure in August across all areas.”
Meanwhile, the research found that 25% of British adults planned to go to the pub at least once to watch Premiership football during the current season. Of those, more than four in 10 intend to go once a month or more.
Jebson said: “Twenty five per cent of GB adults anticipate they will go to the pub at least once to watch a Premiership match this season and more than a third of these intend to go at least once a month.
“One in three men expect to watch Premiership football in the pub this season, but interestingly one in six women plan to as well.”