Hospitality Today Summer 2017 (#38) | Page 22

22 EatingOut | Hospitality Today | Summer 2017 News & Trends Eating out spend falls in 2017 Spending in the UK leisure sector fell slightly in the second quarter of 2017, as consumers became more cautious, according to the latest Leisure Consumer report by Deloitte. Restaurant spending saw the largest year-on-year decline, falling by seven percentage points. The quarter-on-quarter picture is similar, particularly for areas of discretionary spending such as eating and drinking outside of the home. Spending in coffee shops and restaurants both saw a quarterly fall of 4%, while spending in pubs and bars saw a decline of 3% from the 1st quarter of 2017. Simon Oaten of Deloitte, comments: “There has undoubtedly been some loss of momentum in the leisure sector during the second quarter of 2017. Weak consumer confidence, driven largely by rising inflation and lower real wage growth, has led to household austerity measures which have impacted restaurants, cafés and bars. “We are now beginning to see the same shift from discretionary to essential spending in the leisure sector that we have already seen in the retail market. Leisure consumers are switching from discretionary, experience-led activities in order to protect their everyday leisure spending such as their daily coffee or TV subscription. The question for the UK leisure sector is: can the leisure consumer continue to protect their leisure spending even as prices on the high street start to rise?” Restaurant customers open to more digitization of service A survey of 1,500 consumers to establish their restaurant ordering expectations has been carried out by Ordamo. Table service is an absolute consumer expectation. 99% expect table service when visiting a restaurant for dinner, 83% for breakfast and 96% for lunch. However, diners are expecting a shift towards digitalization. Over half of Nando’s consumers (52%) would like to be able to order their food and drink using a digital tablet or app. 40% and 44% respectively would welcome Pizza Express and Wagamama offering the same. 51% find it annoying having to go to a bar or counter to order and subsequently wait in a queue (52%) when dining out in a restaurant. The introduction of tablet or app-based ordering would eliminate some of the biggest bugbears consumers have - for example, 91% of consumers find it annoying being ignored by staff because this slows down service or involves waiting for the bill, which are frustrations for 87% and 72% of diners respectively. Similarly, 55% find it a nuisance not being able to order a drink mid-meal with ease. Daniel Potter, CEO, Ordamo commented: “Interestingly, consumers are very receptive to upselling mid-meal – something that I’m sure is music to many operators’ ears. Six in seven (86%) believe the ability to order additional dishes and drinks mid-meal with ease is important for a great dining experience.”