Aviko publishes consumer survey results on eating & drinking out

As reopenings continue this week, foodservice catering food supplier, Aviko has revealed the results of how over 4,000 consumers are feeling about visiting their favourite pubs and restaurants.

It appears as though the public has really missed dining out during lockdown. 59% of respondents said they were really looking forward to a meal out with the family, closely followed by 48% of people eagerly anticipating a meal out with their partner, and then 41% stating a meal out with friends is on their bucket list.

With a large percentage of people looking forward to a meal with their family it’s important to make sure you are catering for all their needs. Operators need to have a good children’s menu, and also include enticing vegan and vegetarian options.

Customers plan to go out more frequently

We asked consumers in the first few months after the reopening of pubs and restaurants how often they intend to go out to hospitality venues. The results, when compared to 2019 figures from a survey run by Kitchen Stories, show that people will be venturing out more frequently.

96% of people stated they intended to go out at least once a month, which is a point down compared to the 2019 figures. However, breaking this 96% down further, 27% (+9%) of people said they intended to go out weekly, and 20% (+12%) said they would go out more than once a week. International data and insights company CGA also have research to back this up, in their Consumer Countdown to Reopening Series, 39% of GB consumers said they plan to visit hospitality venues more than they did in 2019.

Covid concerns won’t stop the majority

Aviko couldn’t do this survey without a Covid-19 related question, so we wanted to gauge the public’s feelings on their own personal safety. From the response it appears consumers are ready to get out and enjoy life once more by revelling in the service and fares that pubs, cafes and restaurants offer.

89% of people were either not worried at all, or were comfortable with masks and social distancing measures in place for their dining-out experiences. Only 6% said they wouldn’t be going out until the virus numbers had come down, and a little over 6% said they would only be eating and drinking outside.

Which cuisines?

Aviko asked what cuisine type consumers will be ordering on their first visit to a pub or restaurant and there was one resounding winner. Pub grub! Pub food had double the response to its nearest rival, with 60 percent of people craving traditional pub dishes.

Analysing the response and the psychology behind this choice, it seems as though rather than ordering the food that has kept consumers satisfied during lockdown, namely burgers and pizzas, they are looking for food and experiences that they have missed, think rich steak and ale pies and roasts.

Other than pub food, respondents chose Indian, Italian, and Chinese. The spread of the votes shows that the public have missed a wide range of different cuisines and we expect that once one craving is satisfied, consumers will seek out other foods.

Key factors when visiting hospitality sites

When asked to rank factors of importance when visiting a pub, cafe, or restaurant, consumers overwhelmingly chose quality of food as their number one priority. Second and third place were close, with quality of service narrowly trumping safety.

The CGA Consumer Countdown to Reopening Series also backs this consumer mindset up with 44% of consumers surveyed stating that something that is of good quality is perceived as value for money. Next came available deals in fourth place, and lastly being able to personalise your meal.

The importance ranking provides operators with a basis for what to communicate and prioritise to customers. Mentioning locally sourced ingredients and highlighting the loving care taken to createa menu are very important. Likewise, making service sparkle – if using a reservations system, operator need to ensure communications are friendly and welcoming, as well as prepping their team to make customer’s smile.

When to eat out

As you might have expected, dinner is the mealtime that most of the survey respondents said they were looking to enjoy, with 74% of people intending to go out to dinner, followed by 56% planning to enjoy lunch out.

Brunch and breakfast received 13.5 and 12.5% of votes respectively and snacking out received 8%.

What can we understand from these figures? There are opportunities when combined with the frequency of monthly trips out for consumers, so it’s key that operators cater to all those needs. They can focus on the areas relevant to their customer base – adding specials for different days to pick up early-week trade, as well as the end-of-week custom.

Although receiving a smaller response, breakfast and brunch still offer good opportunities, with people working from home more frequently, operators can offer business breakfast/brunch services for mid-week diners.

| Category: Food and Drink Company News