Spend time on food safety to profit from consumer spending rise

The popularity of eating out continues to rise in the UK. In fact, according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), households currently spend (on average) £45.10 on restaurants and hotels each week. This is the highest sum for five years, with an increase of £1.80 compared to last year. The ONS has reported that high employment levels and a rise in disposable income were among the key factors.

Interestingly, the highest increases in spending were in restaurants and cafes, which account for £17.30 per household each week. However, the ONS noted that the figure varied around the country, from £21.50 in London to £14.20 in Wales. The overall figures break down as follows:

Restaurant and café meals = £17.30

Alcoholic drinks consumed away from home = £7.50

Takeaway meals = £4.70

Accommodation = £8.90

Ultimately, this adds up to a fantastic opportunity for the food service sector. The question is: what can individual restaurants and cafés do to grab a slice of that spending?

While quality of food and service are always ranked highly by customers, research by Checkit found that food safety and hygiene is often the decisive factor in whether they return to a restaurant or café. When 1,000 consumers were asked what factors would stop them coming back to a restaurant, 75 per cent said they wouldn’t risk dining at a restaurant where there had been a food safety incident. By contrast, only 16 per cent cited slow or poor service as reasons not to return to a restaurant, and only 32 per cent would stay away because of rude or unhelpful staff.

With this in mind, it’s clear that prioritising safety and hygiene, by implementing the best-practice regimes and ensuring they are carried out consistently, can be crucial in gaining a slice of the spending pie.