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Voice of the Customer

A new annual market report reveals exactly what consumers are demanding from restaurants. It’s based on a detailed analysis of Paymentsense’s customer base of over 70,000 businesses, plus interviews with 350 restaurant owners and 2,085 consumers.

With 50 million adults eating out in Great Britain each year and 2.4 billion eating-out occasions, there are plenty of opportunities to get people’s taste buds tingling.

Young people are most likely to dine out, with couples and under 35s eating out once a week.

According to the study, young people are most likely to eat out. Almost half of young families, young couples and people under 35 living in shared accommodation say they eat out once a week. That proportion falls to a quarter for empty nesters or retirees.

35 million UK adults eat breakfast out every year, with the demand twice as strong for millennials.

94% of people dine out in the evening, lunch is almost as popular and breakfast and brunch attract 35 million adults each year (two-thirds of the British population). The demand for breakfast is twice as strong amongst millennials, so restaurants should consider marketing breakfast or brunch to a more youthful profile.

Sunday is crucial for restaurant owners, tapping into 40% of a consumer’s spend.

Sunday is crucial. Saturday may bring in more sales, but Sunday is when restaurants can claim £4 out of every £10 that consumers spend (compared with just £2.30 the rest of the week). Perhaps this is due to reduced Sunday opening in other sectors, such as Retail or Automotive. Whatever the reason, restaurants have a clear opportunity to ‘own’ this particular weekday.

UK consumers will fork out 12% more on average in the winter and on red-letter days.

Consumers will fork out about 12% more on average in winter and red-letter days such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and bank holidays. So, securing these bookings is especially lucrative.

40% of consumers visit review websites before visiting a restaurant.

Technology is key to attracting customers and improving their dining experience.

Having an up-to-date website and appearing on review sites will attract the attention of 40% of consumers. Offering multiple booking options will appeal to the 91% of consumers who like to reserve a table. And bringing the card machine out with the bill will accommodate the 29% of consumers who say this would improve their dining experience.

71% view customer service as important to very important.

However, nothing can ever make up for poor food and bad service. 71% view customer service as important or very important, 69% would say the same for the cuisine and 68% focus on price.

Consumers want healthy food options on the menu. 71% say health should not be disregarded, yet only 48% of restaurant owners are considering these types of dishes.

The option to customise menus, for example, by swapping sides or part of a meal, also ranked highly. 38% would pay extra for a unique experience that surpassed ordinary expectations.

Ethical considerations are important to 66% of the population, with local produce, transparency in the food supply chain and organic food all being of interest to consumers.

67% of consumers are influenced by word of mouth.

Knowing consumers’ habits gives your restaurant the knowledge to adapt to their needs and build a loyal customer base. This is vital given that 67% of consumers are influenced by word of mouth.

With a hostile trading environment threatening high street establishments, restaurateurs will need to adapt to meet the needs of their patrons.

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