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What is the UK’s favourite cuisine? (Survey & Infographic)

24 February 2017 Data Insights

Brits spend a small fortune on takeaways and eating out. According to our recent research, the average person spends £9.75 just on themselves at least once per month. That’s £117 a year!

But where does the UK like to spend its money the most: Chinese food? Indian dining? Takeout pizza? And does that change depending on gender, region, and whether people are sitting down for a meal or getting it delivered to the door by ordering online?

Using our card machine data of restaurants, takeaways and fast-food places that are taking card payments with us, plus a UK-wide survey of 2,000 people, we found out what Britain’s favourite takeaway and restaurant cuisine is – and discovered some other interesting facts along the way.

UKs favourite cuisines infographic

The winners are…

Of the 30 cities that took part in our survey, all but three of them – Aberystwyth, Coventry, and Wolverhampton – crowned the Chinese takeaway as their favoured food-to-go. The other three areas all opted for Indian. The likes of fish and chips barely got a look in.

And the winner of the battle of the restaurants is Italian. Above all else, Brits prefer to head out for pizza and pasta. Indian came in second once again, with traditional pub grub taking third place. In a surprising turn of fortune-cookies, Chinese was the UK’s least favourite restaurant.

For starters

Throughout the country, 21% of us order one takeaway per week, mostly to share with our partners, according to the survey. Spending an average of £9.75 per person, 30% of people ordered, paid, and collected in store, 37% ordered and paid online, while 56% stuck with the classic process and ordered over the phone.

Different genders, different tastes?

Throwing the question of the nation’s favourite cuisine up in the air, the majority of men preferred to go for an Indian when eating out, while most women would rather visit an Italian restaurant.

Both agreed when it came to choosing a takeaway menu from the drawer, as Chinese cuisine came out on top with both men and women.

Men are more inclined to order a takeaway overall, with 79% of respondents ordering food at least once a month. Women are very slightly less indulgent: 71% got a takeaway once a month or more.

The regional divide

The Yorkshire folk of Leeds came out on top as the greatest lovers of a cheeky takeaway – with 77% having at least one every month. Less than 25 miles away, the people of York weren’t quite so regular customers, with just 25% of people ordering a monthly takeaway.

Just a little further south, those in Sheffield spent the least on an average takeaway in the entire country, at just £8.51.

Britons all over the country were most likely to place their order by ringing up the takeaway, unless they lived in London. In the capital, 51% of residents ordered their food online, compared to 47% who preferred the phone.

The age gap

When it came to dining out at a restaurant, Italian was preferred by 18 to 44-year-olds.
From 45 to over 55, booking a table at an Indian was more common.

As ever, younger generations are the most tech-oriented: 62% of 18–24s ordering their takeaways online, and almost half of 25–34s did the same. Those aged 35 and over usually picked up the phone.

From the takeaways themselves

So far, all our findings have come from what people have told us. But do their actual spending habits line up with their claims?

Using our internal data gathered directly from transactions coming from contactless card readers & chip and pin machines through January 2017, it seems that even though we’re happy to splash significant cash on takeaways and restaurants, in some cases Britons might actually be spending less.

In fact, it appears certain regions are better at keeping to their dietary New Year’s resolutions than others, with restaurants in the North East seeing a 27% year-on-year decrease in transactions, indicating the Geordies have been good so far this year.

However, it’s the opposite at the other end of the country: Londoners are treating themselves. In January 2017, takeaways in the capital saw a 41% year-on-year increase in sales. Restaurants in London also saw the highest sales out of anywhere in the nation over the same period.

What we know now

According to our survey, if you’re ordering out you’ll be ringing up the Chinese takeaway once a month, spending a massive £117 a year just on yourself.

Whereas if you’re going out, you’ll book a table at an Italian and may be keeping your New Year’s resolutions if you live in the North East, or throwing dietary caution to the wind if you live in the capital.

It seems the UK certainly does love its food!

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