Why in 2019 we’ll see fewer people eating out, but more spend

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Bums on seats: there will be fewer diners, but higher spend NPD research predicts
Bums on seats: there will be fewer diners, but higher spend NPD research predicts
Punters will eat out on fewer occasions over the next two years, but will spend more money due to menu price increases and by having more dishes delivered.

Data and analysis from global information company the NPD group suggests the British out of home (OOH) market will dip in the next two years, after peaking at 11.35bn visits in 2017.

Following the peak, the market dipped by  0.5% to 11.29bn visits in 2018, and is predicted to drop by a further 0.5% this year and 0.1% next to 11.23bn visits.

Despite a drop in the number of bums on seats, NPD research showed spend will increase by 5% to almost £60bn by the end of 2020, compared with £56.62bn last year.

Average cheque reached £5

“This will be mainly driven by operators increasing menu prices as they respond to cost pressures, including inflation,” said NPD. “The average individual cheque reached £5.00 in 2018 and will rise an additional 5.6% by 2020 to £5.30.”

Takeaway and ‘grab n go’ food is expected to provide a lift in sales, as well as drive-thru visits.

Outlets marked as casual-dining venues are, however, expected to win in the coming years, with strong growth in spend and footfall, the data claimed.

“By the end of 2020, it will be attracting an additional 43m visits to represent 5.5% of all OOH visits, while spend will jump +15.5% or some £960m,” NPD said.  “By contrast, full-service restaurants will continue to decline with a loss of 63m visits, a drop of 9.3%.”

Product service and quality

Casual-dining outlets that offer delivery are expected to see further gains from the format, especially those with increased emphasis on high product and service quality, it added.

Visits from consumers “digitally”, meaning customers using digital kiosks, order screens or ordering by apps for delivery and takeaway, will exceed 1bn by 2020.

“The use of apps in particular is expected to continue to see a rapid increase in use, with visits that originate from an app (both click and collect and delivery apps) forecast to leap by 88% between now and the end of 2020,” NPD said.

“If app-based orders perform as predicted, they will have grown 2.5 times in visit terms since the end of 2017,” NPD reported.

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