Spending in pubs and restaurants during the critical Christmas period will be up by almost 20% in a spending spree that could result in a £6.8b boom, research published today (Thursday) will reveal.
Despite operators' fears of a slowdown in customer spending, Brits will spend, on average, £143 per person eating and drinking out in the run-up to Christmas - a rise of 18% year-on-year.
If everyone over 16 in the UK spends the predicted amount on socialising, operators will share a Christmas present of a £1b rise in takings. Last year, consumers spent £5.75b in pubs and restaurants over the same period.
The research was conducted by TNS on behalf of Deloitte, with 1,000 adults aged 16 and above interviewed between 31 August and 2 September and again between 2 and 4 November.
Glyn Bunting, partner in the hospitality and leisure team at Deloitte, said: "The surprising thing for us was that customers in the North-west will spend more than those in London and the South-east. It is difficult to put a finger on why that is."
Bunting said a key trend for operators to note was a growing demographic split in customer spending, with those aged 35 to 54 spending the most on Christmas eating and drinking out. He urged operators to address the family pound.
"Families are more likely to eat out since the smoking ban came in, and providing friendly service, affordability and sensible menu choices will help attract them. They are customers who know what they want, and operators need to be very careful with things like music. This might appeal to the younger age groups, but they are not spending as much as the older age groups."
Expected average Christmas spend