UK Regional Foodies – Restaurant Insights Report 2020

Data Insights, Small Business Advice 5 December 2019

The UK is a nation of foodies. And when it comes to eating out, you can bet we Brits have an opinion on everything, from the diversity of dishes offered to price-point and where the ingredients come from. 

We decided to take a closer look at the UK’s attitudes towards dining out and surveyed over 2,000 Brits to create our Restaurant Insights Report 2020. In doing so, we learned how attitudes towards restaurants vary wildly from city to city. So, while Londoners are most passionate about restaurant loyalty and care the least about budget, the people of Aberdeen were the complete opposite. 

Let’s look at how dining trends vary across the UK’s regions. 

 

Does loyalty still exist? 

When it comes to having a favourite restaurant that we revisit and recommend to family and friends, the people of London and York are the most loyal – 33% from each city cited this as important. On the other end of the scale, Aberdeen respondents care the least. Just 21% demonstrated loyalty to a particular restaurant.   

The tables were flipped, however, when we moved onto the subject of budget. 55% of Aberdeen and Glasgow townsfolk surveyed said that price is the most important factor when eating out, and they claimed to spend less than the average person. Those in London and Nottingham were the least sensitive to price, with 50% from each city citing this as important. 

As far as convenience is concerned, it’s those from Leeds and Belfast who value quick, easy, and unplanned dining more than anyone else. 36% of respondents from each of these cities admitted they were often pressed for time when eating out, often making unplanned trips to restaurants or opting for takeaway. Meanwhile, Aberdeen respondents were least bothered – just 24% see convenience as a major factor in restaurant choice. 

 

All about ethics 

Sustainability and the environment have been eating up some serious column inches of late, leading many restaurants to consider going plastic-free and sourcing food responsibly. 

Belfast customers are most concerned when it came to ethics, with 35% favouring restaurants with environmentally-sound practices and that sourced local or organic produce, closely followed by Leeds with 33%. The results couldn’t be any more different over in nearby Sheffield, however, where just 19% were concerned about ethical restaurants. 

Another hot topic that’s often in the headlines is health. The people of Oxford and Leeds were most conscious of this when choosing a place to eat, with 55% from each city paying close attention to calories and nutrition. Those in London and Birmingham were a close second (52%), while Glaswegians cared the least (40%). 

 

Experiential dining 

Experiential dining is another craze that has been growing in popularity in recent years, with more of us looking out for unique, personalised, and more exclusive ways to consume food. The people of Belfast respond most to this, with 48% admitting that they look for something different when choosing where to eat. Londoners were in second place here with 39%, while Cardiff’s diners were the least concerned – just 21% were enthusiastic about this. 

Of course, we don’t just get our culinary kicks from trying new things out in restaurants. Many of us love to cook at home, enjoy entertaining and may even consider ourselves connoisseurs when it comes to food and drink. Belfast claimed to be the kings and queens of home-cooking, with 30% rating their own gastronomical skills highly. 

Snapping at their heels in second place were Leeds, London and Nottingham, where 29% from each city felt confident about their cooking talents. At the bottom end of the scale, just 18% of those from Aberdeen considered themselves to be culinary connoisseurs. 

If you’re planning to launch a restaurant in the UK anytime soon, look to your local target audience and find out exactly what they want. If our restaurant report has told us one thing, it’s just how diverse each different city is when it comes to restaurants and food in general. To learn more about this, take a look at our full report, which is packed with eye-opening data on the restaurant industry.

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