I guess I’m not the only one who’s trying the restaurant diet these days. If you are headed to England anytime soon, you may find it easier to get a seat at a posh restaurant or even a local pub. The Times online reports that the British are opting to go old school by spending more time and money cooking at home, rather than dining out.
For the past four decades, informal eating out (spending 15 pounds or less), was one of Britain’s most successful industries. Now, a new report by Allegra Strategies finds that British dining out has actaully declined for the first time in 40 years. In fact, only one in nine meals will be consumed outside the home this year, as opposed to one in eight in 2008. Strategists predict that if the trend continues, one in five people will plan to eat out less during the next 12 months.
This is bad news for the many restaurant owners and employees. Research published in Eating Out in the UK 2009 already reported that 15,000 jobs have been lost in the casual dining out sector alone in the past year. And, the informal eating out market is predicted to decline by at least 0.5 % by the end of the year.
Researchers predict that the industry will improve in 12 to 18 months, but others say that this rebound may only be temporary. Steve Gotham, project director at Allegra Strategies, said:
“This report shows that, while some companies continue to do well, many are suffering.The industry will have to become more consumer-focused as customers won’t forget what they are learning in the recession. Eating out may have become an everyday experience, but when the economy picks up, people won’t go back to paying over the odds for a meal.”
Compare this trend to that in the US, where a recent gallup poll shows that Americans are eating out nearly as much as they were before the recession, but we are just spending less when we dine out.
So, like the British, Americans are also feeling a pinch this year, but we are hard-pressed to give up our fast-food!