The Mediterranean

Great British Chefs White Paper: eating out

by Great British Chefs 22 September 2017

We’re spending more time in restaurants today than ever before, with countless cuisines, experiences and establishments to choose from. But how much do we tend to spend, and how do we pick which restaurant to go to? Read our white paper to find out.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

These days, it doesn’t take a big celebration to get us out of our homes and into a restaurant. We’ll happily catch up with friends over lunch, or spend a sizeable portion of our wages on the best food money can buy. Whether it’s a quick burger at a local chain or a blow-out Michelin-starred multi-course tasting menu, one thing’s certain – we’ve never enjoyed eating out as much as we do now.

We wanted to learn more about this rise in eating out, particularly in the area of fine dining. How do people like to book meals? What time of the day is most popular to eat out? What are we actually eating once we get there? We asked over 1,000 people about their habits when it comes to visiting restaurants, to get some hard figures about what is (and isn’t) popular.

Our findings revealed that the vast majority of foodies spend more than £50 per head when dining out at least a few times a year, and will happily travel to experience a really good restaurant. However, convenience is also a major factor, as local restaurants and gastropubs are where we spend our money the most. An incredible 63% of us dine out at least once a month, proving we’re happy to use disposable income to either experience great quality food or simply enjoy not having to cook for ourselves.

When it comes to booking the table, 70% of us prefer to deal directly with the restaurant, although websites such as Opentable (38%) and Bookatable (37%) are popular too. Choosing a restaurant isn’t done on a whim, either – 57% of us turn to Tripadvisor to see how an establishment is rated, but just over half of us are happy to follow recommendations from friends and family too.

As you’d probably guess, dinner is the most popular meal to eat at a restaurant, followed by lunch. Eating out for breakfast and brunch remains a niche activity, most popular with 25–44-year-olds. Females are marginally more likely to dine out for afternoon tea, while males are marginally more likely to eat breakfast in a restaurant.

The restaurants we generally like to visit should use simple, local ingredients cooked without too many bells and whistles. Perhaps surprisingly, more people are after classic, traditional flavours than global cuisines. While promotions and offers are less common in the world of fine dining they do exist, and it looks like offers sent directly from the restaurant are the most common.

To learn more about our results, read our white paper in full by downloading the PDF above.