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Consumers cut back on eating out, report claims

28 | 01 | 13

Christmas did not bring a great deal of festive cheer to restaurants across the UK as consumers cut back on their spending and failed to eat out on a regular basis, according to a new report from hospitality consultancy firm Horizons.

Its QuickBite survey found that 68 per cent of consumers ate out over the Christmas period, as opposed to the 72 per cent who did so in 2011.

For the third of adults who did not visit a restaurant over the two-week festive period, the fear of additional expenditure during what is already a difficult financial period for many families was cited as the most important factor, reports Caterer and Hotelkeeper.

On average respondents ate out 1.83 times in the period, down from the 2011 figure of 2.1, the report added. However, average spending levels increased across the UK, growing by £16.40 in Scotland.

Emma Read, director of marketing and business development at Horizons, suggested that consumers are now treating eating out as more of an occasion or treat rather than a part of their weekly routine.

This means that operators fitting out new sites with restaurant equipment may need to resign themselves to slightly reduced footfall over the next few months as the financial squeeze continues to affect Britons.

Ms Read said: "This increase in spend is good news for the sector but it is more important to businesses that people continue to eat out frequently."

She added that the downturn in visitor numbers over the last two weeks of 2012 is likely to have had a negative impact on turnover, something that could be especially problematic for firms counting on a strong end to the year.

While restaurants may be enduring a difficult time, the number of people eating in pubs with food facilities continues to drive growth in the market - this accounted for 20 per cent of dining experiences over the period.

According to Christie + Co's Business Outlook 2013 report, Britons remain committed to eating out despite a reduction in their disposable income.ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801529596-ADNFCR

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