Consumer: Dining out is on the up as confidence grows

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Restaurants in the Leeds region have seen customer numbers jump by a quarter as consumers get back into the habit of dining out as their financial situation improves.

New research shows that there was a 24 per cent increase in visits to restaurants in Yorkshire in the third quarter of this year, and the region’s year-on-year growth in restaurant spending of 16 per cent is above the UK average of 15.8 per cent,

According to the first Barclaycard ‘Where’s Britain Spending?’ report into consumer spending trends, the average amount spent per restaurant meal in our region is £21.11, one of the highest amounts in the UK compared to the national average of £19.64.

However the data also showed that while restaurant visits nationwide climbed 23 per cent in the third quarter of the year, the amount spent each time declined 6.2 per cent, averaging £20 per sitting, suggesting that families are able to make more frequent visits by cutting the cost of their meals down when they dine out.

Interestingly, the study found that despite Londoners being spoilt for choice, they’re avoiding the notoriously expensive eateries and are spending the least on their meals of anyone in the country at just £17.81 per sitting.

But, tellingly, the research also found that almost a fifth of UK consumers are planning to spend even more on dining out in the next few months.

Commentators say the increase in eating out may be attributed to the culinary boom taking place across the UK, including Leeds’s own fast rising dining scene.

The increasing popularity of local food events is also creating new culinary critics keen to try out their local restaurant.

Chris Wood, managing director of Barclaycard, said: “The UK’s restaurant industry is enjoying a mini-boom with spending in the last twelve months jumping by a fifth.

“With the office party season just around the corner, this is likely to give restaurants in Yorkshire a very merry Christmas.

“Dining out is one of the first things to be cut when we tighten our purse strings.

“So the fact that we’re spending more is a sign that consumers are feeling more confident in their financial position.”

When asked about their financial situation, almost two-thirds of UK consumers said they are confident in their ability to live within their means each month, and over half said they feel confident about their household finances.

The combined result suggests that consumers are planning on loosening their purse strings and splashing out over the festive season.

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