Everybody loves to have a night off from cooking and to enjoy letting someone else worry about the washing up. Restaurants have been a big part of our social lives for hundreds of years. Today, you don’t even need to leave your home; takeaway restaurants bring their food directly to your door! Whether it is date night, you are meeting family, gathering with friends or just having a quiet night in, you can enjoy your favourite foods without the hassle of cooking.
Where are our favourite places to eat, and what types of food do we prefer? The nation’s favourite foods are often home-cooked classics like shepherd’s pie and Sunday roasts. However, when it comes to calling in or going out for dinner, Brits have slightly different tastes and will experiment a little more. We take a look at diners’ spending habits, their most loved restaurants and the types of cuisine which are most often selected.
Takeaway and restaurant spending: market and demographics
Many of us are spending more on dining than ever before: particularly within the younger generation. 16-24 year olds spend the most on food each week, according to research by the BBC’s Good Food magazine. This is due to them spending more than any other age group on takeaways and on dining out - an average of £19.61 per week and £28.26 respectively. In contrast, the over-65s spend just £3.20 per week on fast food and are far more likely to make home-cooked meals each night.
The average family household has three takeaway meals a month and dines out once a month. At an average cost of £9.41 per person, according to research by Nationwide Building Society, that makes around £300 per person every year. The type of food bought makes a big difference to cost. Fish and chips is the cheapest kind of takeaway in the UK, at an average cost of £5.51 per meal. The most expensive is choice Chinese, with people spending around £9 each on a delivery meal.
Top restaurants and delivery chains in the UK
When it comes to dining out, Pizza Hut is the nation’s favourite restaurant according to a Pragma Research study. Frankie and Benny’s is a close second while Pizza Express is third. Clearly we are a nation of pizza lovers! Other popular choices include Nando’s, TGI Fridays and Bella Italia. All of these restaurants are very popular with the younger generation. Fast food chains which used to have very high demand, such as McDonald’s and Burger King, have fallen out of favour a little with people preferring the restaurant experience
When it comes to takeaways, chains like Pizza Hut and Dominos are extremely popular. However, almost two fifths of diners are likely to choose their favourite local restaurant over a national brand when they order a pizza. Local fast food outlets are the number one choice when ordering alternative cuisines, such as Chinese or Indian. When choosing a local restaurant, reviews and friends’ opinions are the top cited reason for making a decision, with price second and locality third.
The nation’s favourite food types
The study found that Italian is only the second most loved food type, however. 51% of people say they have eaten in a British food restaurant in the past 12 months, compared with 31% who have visited an Italian restaurant or pizzeria. Perhaps this is a sign that our national tastes are a little set in their ways. Two fifths of diners admit they prefer ‘safe’ menu choices and select their favourites, while only one third like ‘experimental’ dining and love to try new foods.
The top five cuisine choices, as revealed by a Welsh Lamb survey, are:
The study also revealed that we are at our most adventurous when we order takeaways. Home cooking and restaurant dining keep us loyal to what we know and love best, but many of us will try something different when having meals delivered. Just 27% of us order the same thing twice in a row, according to online takeaway site JustEat.
Restaurant choice: key influencers and deciding factors
What matters most when choosing a restaurant? The type of cuisine served will sway a diner’s decision, but consumers also want to know that the food served is of top quality. Fresh ingredients, home cooking and in-season produce are very appealing to the restaurant customer - one third of restaurant diners say seasonal menus can influence their choice of where to eat.
Cost is also a big influencer when it comes to dining, especially with so many of us doing it more often. Those meals out and food deliveries can start to add up. 79% of people surveyed by VoucherBin revealed that they will consider a different restaurant and even a different type of cuisine if they have a money-off coupon. 82% of takeaway diners say they search for vouchers online before they place their order, and 61% of these will change their choice of brand if a better deal is available somewhere else.