20 October 2011
Dining deals keep cash-strapped consumers going out to eat
Innovations drive new opportunities for the European restaurant industry.
The Livebookings Dining Index reveals:
• UK diners could save nearly £135 million per week if everyone used dining deals when eating out
• Sweden and the UK offer the biggest discounts, both average a 50% discount
• France is the last bastion of home cooking, where 60% of diners choose French food over foreign food
• Restaurant bookings by mobile are booming, with 44% growth in the first half of 2011
• The most booked celebrity restaurant is Jamie’s Italian, Canary Wharf
• The most booked Michelin Star restaurant is The Fat Duck
2011 has seen a boom in dining deals with British restaurants responding to the economic climate by innovating and creating a market that could save UK consumers £135 million per week. This is the key finding of the latest Livebookings Dining Index. The number of dining deals offered across Europe has increased rapidly this year, with Livebookings, the European leader in real-time reservations and online marketing services for restaurants, seeing nearly 2,000 of its restaurants offering deals on a daily basis.
The Index reveals that consumers have responded to the significant savings on offer by eating out more, with other luxuries such as clothes and accessories taking the hit1. Restaurants are now the affordable luxury after necessities and bills, with going out and dining now consumers’ top spending priorities. 77% of Brits also say they turn to food to cheer themselves up in these times of austerity1.
Europe catches the deals bug
Sweden and the UK lead the way in terms of deal value. Both countries average a 50% difference between the cost of eating out from a full menu, compared to the cost of eating out using a deal. Dining deals are not only prominent in the UK and Sweden - the phenomenon has spread throughout Europe with the relative differences between full menu and deal value markedly different:
Country Average saving made Average % difference
by buying a deal (in sterling) between deal and Full menu cost
GBR £15.48 50%
DEU £4.70 19%
SWE £19.05 50%
FRA £11.34 37%
ESP £14.63 18%
Peter Avis, Babylon’s Restaurant Manager at The Roof Gardens said: “The opportunities and options for dining out have increased enormously over the years with individuals dining out more frequently and viewing it as an affordable, highly sociable treat. Restaurants have recognised that in order to attract more customers they need to address the many occasions people choose to dine out and tailor the offers accordingly. Innovative concepts, menus & pricing can all encourage diners to choose different times during the week. Tuesday can be the new Friday given all the mouth watering offers currently available. The key is to ensure you add value for customers, maintain the highest levels of quality and service and recognise and reward repeat custom. Just as important is choosing like minded companies who share similar values to promote all offers.”
The deals model was ushered in by the onset of global recession and there have been a number of new dining habits thrown up by times of austerity. London seems to be less affected with two thirds of people eating out weekly, compared to only 37% in the rest of the country2. This is supported by statistics around daily eating out: 17% of Londoners say they eat out daily compared to 4% in the rest of the UK2.
The Livebookings Dining Index also reports that, in the UK, the most popular type of restaurant cuisine when dining out is Italian, with 29% of all online bookings made for Italian restaurants. This was followed by British (24%). Europe has shown less loyalty to local cuisine, with diners in the UK, Spain, Denmark and Germany all preferring other types of cuisine. The French remain most loyal to own cuisine type – 60% of online bookings in this market were made for French restaurants. The only other country in Europe that showed loyalty to home cooking was Sweden, where a third of all bookings are for restaurants serving local cuisine.
Mobile and online bookings
Aside from discount dining, footfall in restaurants is being driven by an increase in online and mobile bookings. The Livebookings Dining Index demonstrates that the UK has seen a 44% growth in mobile bookings in the first half of 2011 compared to the second half of 2010, while one in five online reservations is expected to be made by mobile by 2012. The top five restaurants booked by mobile in the UK are:
1. OXO Tower
2. The Wolseley
4. The Rainforest Café
5. The River Café
In the last six months, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria have boasted the strongest growth in mobile bookings in Europe. In The Netherlands alone, online mobile reservations have increased by 665% since March 2011. Mobile bookings also continue to increase in Germany.
The Dining Index also reveals that there has been a 43% increase in online bookings in the UK in the first half of 2011 compared to the second half of 2010. This surge is echoed across Europe with online reservations increasing by 41%.
The top five restaurants booked online in the UK are:
1. Tea at The Ritz
2. OXO Tower
3. The Fat Duck
4. Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s
5. Covent Garden Fire and Stone
Colin Tenwick, CEO of Livebookings said: “The economic climate has seen huge innovations in the restaurant industry. By creating a deals market and through embracing technology, restaurants have shown a robustness at a time when many other businesses are starting to feel nervous. The deals market is vast, encompassing all types of restaurants, and consumers are tapping into it every day, but our message is that consumers don’t quite realise the extent of offers available and are actually well-placed to make even more savings when eating out.”
Recession proof restaurants
With restaurants boasting high level of diners despite the economic downturn, celebrity and Michelin Star restaurants also continue to receive heavy footfall. The top five most booked Michelin Star and Celebrity restaurants are:
Celebrity Restaurants Michelin Star Restaurants
1. Jamie's Italian - Canary Wharf 1. The Fat Duck
2. The Gilbert Scott 2. The River Café
3. Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's 3. Gordon Ramsay's Maze
4. Pollen Street Social 4. Gordon Ramsay's Petrus
5. Gordon Ramsay's Maze Grill 5. Arbutus
Peter Martin, founder of the Peach Factory consultancy, said: “People are not giving up on eating-out and, although our own research shows that food quality remains the top driver of choice, value is becoming increasingly important – and they are also willing to look around for a better experience. Interestingly, although offers and vouchers can get customers through the door, it is no guarantee they will come back. Restaurants and pubs still have to deliver a great experience – in fact in these tight times the onus is on offering an even better time for consumers.
“However, perhaps the most significant development is the growing sophistication of marketing, and offers in particular, coming from the sector – and especially the growing use of mobile phone technology. The smart phone is fast becoming the restaurant world’s most potent marketing tool.”
Notes to editors:
1. Mintel Lifestyles report, September 2011
2. Peach BrandTrack report, 2011
Unless otherwise stated, statistics used within this press release come from the Livebookings Dining Index. The Index is based on Livebookings and Bookatable online and mobile bookings data, which is provided by 9,000 restaurants from 23 countries.
The headline statistic has been calculated using the total UK population figure (source: ONS Population Change), the percentage of which eat out (source: the Peach BrandTrack report 2011), and the saving made by a discount deal (source: Livebookings Dining Index).