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Consumer Trends

Restaurant visits up on both sides of the pond

Americans and Brits are eating out more often, according to two reports released this week. The NPD Group, a Chicago market research firm, delivered the upbeat news that the industry posted a 0.5% gain in restaurant counts in Spring 2012. And the latest QuickBite survey by London-based Horizons found that the average British adult had eaten out 2.77 times during two weeks this June, compared with 2.02 times in July, 2011.

  • Visits to U.S. restaurants improved by 1% over 2011 for the year ending May, 2012, and consumer spending increased by 2%, according to NPD Crest, which tracks the foodservice industry
  • NPD's Spring 2012 ReCount, a census of commercial restaurant locations, reported that the number of independents—which have been on the decline since 2009—posted a slight increase of 984 locations. Chains were up by 1,888 units
  • In the QuickBite survey of 2,105 British consumers, pub restaurants accounted for 19% of eating-out occasions—up from 18% in the previous six months—while 17% of respondents patronized takeout and delivery outlets
  • Brits cite "convenience" (29%) and "meeting friends" (26%) as the most common reasons for eating out
  • While restaurant visits have reached a two-year high, average check is slightly lower, declining to 12.30 pounds from 12.69 pounds of a year ago

Horizons' director of services Paul Backman commented "It is surprising, given the difficult economy and the fact that retail spending remains low that the respondents to our survey are still eating out on a regular basis—and in fact, more regularly."

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