Eating Out, a Growing Market


Dining out has become a large part of British culture, a trend that has been confirmed by various surveys. As part of this increase, and due to a mixture of economic, social and cultural factors, taking away and eating at ethnically themed restaurants is also on the rise.

Today there are an estimated 226,000 food outlets in the UK. The eating out market is worth £52 billion a year, with the total food service market estimated to now be worth around £75 billion per year. Furthermore, research from Allegra Strategies predicts that the eating out market is expected to go from strength to strength and will total £65 billion by 2017. This is in spite of the fact that consumers (including those in full-time work and students) are spending less per head on their lunchtime meal. Lunchtime spend has fallen to £7.07 on average, compared to £7.34 in 2011, whereas dining out spend has risen from around £13.11 to £14.34 over the same period.

Fast Food Dominates the UK’s Eating Out Market

More than half of all meals eaten out in Britain are from fast food restaurants according to another re- search company, NPD (The NPD Group, is a leading North American market research company).

According to NPD’s latest findings, fast food outlets are also showing the fastest comparable market growth, meaning they could soon dominate the market share. Burgers, fried chicken, pizzas, kebabs and take out curry now account for 50.4 per cent of meals bought outside the home, up from 47.3 per cent in 2008. This is a total of 5.54 billion fast food meals a year, with a total of 11 bil- lion meals eaten outside the home – be it at a work canteen, restaurant, pub or sandwich shop.
The money spent on dining has been falling since the banking crisis in 2008. It has fallen from £50.8 billion in September 2008 to £49.2 billion in September 2011.

The concentration of fast food outlets and takeaways varies by local authorities in England, with deprived areas having more fast food outlets per 100,000 of population. The average for England as a whole is 77.9 outlets per 100,000 people, with London (25) boroughs having a disproportionately higher number than other parts of the country (

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