Casual dining continues to grow despite industry uncertainty

The latest figures from an investigation by the NPD group show that despite a number of high profile closures in the sector, casual dining might just be thriving.

In fact, visits to casual dining outlets in Britain have gone up 7% for the year ending June 2018.

However, it’s not all great news for the catering industry, as figures suggest that the out-of-home foodservice industry as a whole saw 43 million fewer visits compared to the year before.

Brits spent £6 billion eating out in the year recorded, a figure that will need to increase if the industry is to stabilize.

There have been a number of reasons given for the decline in OOH dining from both industry and customers, which may also explain the increase in the popularity of casual dining.

From an industry point of view, high rent and costs have cut profit margins. This has caused one of two things; restaurants either increase their prices or look to expand too quickly.

Customers are left feeling that the market is oversaturated with the same type of dining experience and the same high prices.

The report shows that consumers are driving the market. Along with new technology like social media reviews that allow them to share their experiences more easily, consumers are changing their eating habits and making less structured dining a more accessible experience.

Perhaps worryingly for the rest of the sector that aren’t in casual dining, families, young adults and millennials are turning their back on more structured or highly priced dining. They are encouraged by the new and varied cuisines entering the market.

What that means for the future customer base of the industry, is anyone’s guess.

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