Diners increase demand for meals
According to Allegra, the eating out market is set to rise by 3% in 2012, generating £53bn in revenue. Allegra has also predicted that over the next five years, spending on meals out will rise to £65bn. This positive forecast has been based on the increase in average earnings, as well as the gradual reduction in inflation. Both factors make it easier for consumers to eat out, and will contribute to the inevitable improvement in sales over the next five years.
When compared with the rest of the food service market, the development of the eating out industry has far surpassed other areas of the industry. Overall, the growth of the eating out market has been attributed to the expansion of available services, an increase in the number of people choosing to eat out, and price inflation. Dominating the market growth is the fast food industry, with sandwich outlet Subway seeing a particularly steep rise in sales. In 2012, Subway increased their outlets by 134, while Dominos added a further 102 stores to their chain.
Despite the successes of 2012, and the predicted five year growth pattern, food outlet operators are still having to fight hard for their margins. Operators are now having to spend more on obtaining consumer spend, and there is an ongoing fight to increase productivity. As 45% of consumers do not feel confident about their future income levels, and 62% exercise fiscal caution when eating out, those who operate in the eating out industry will need to continue working hard in order to take advantage of the predicted successes between now and 2017.
Regardless of these concerns, it appears that eating out is an aspect of life that British consumers have grown accustomed to. Although the overall spending at lunchtime has dropped by £0.27 per meal, it has increased by £1.26 per meal at dinner time. With these reductions in spending has come an increase in the number of times customers choose to eat out. Four-point-five lunches a week are now eaten out, as well as 2.7 dinners, and 1.7 breakfasts. Such sales have been influenced by operators improving the range and price of products on offer, particularly when it comes to breakfast.