Gen Z Driving Restaurant Resurgence Amid Cost of Living Crisis

As the cost of living crisis worsens, a new study from SevenRooms has found that the hospitality industry continues to recover as the majority of UK consumers (58%) are spending the same or more each restaurant and bar visit than they were pre-pandemic, swapping out clothes, shoes and even holidays in their budget to fund meals and nights out. This restaurant resurgence is being driven by younger consumers aged 16-24, who spend an average of £68.02 a week in restaurants, pubs and bars. This spending then drops with age, with 35-44s spending an average of £45.75 and those aged 55+ spending just £21.52 per week.

Top 5 expenses being cut in favour of restaurant visits

1. Takeaway and delivery meals (13%)
2. Clothes shopping (13%)
3 Holidays (12%)
4. Shoe shopping (11%)
5. Entertainment – i.e. cinema, plays, concerts, sporting events, etc. (10%)

The research from SevenRooms, which polled over 2,000 UK adults, looked at Brits’ new priorities and expectations around dining two years on from ‘Eat Out to Help Out’.

What’s more, the research suggests that there is a growing trend to cut back on other items in favour of going out: over 1 in 8 (13%) are cutting back on takeaway and new clothes and over 1 in 9 (12%) are even sacrificing holidays in favour of restaurant visits.

Top 5 most popular elements of ‘eatertainment’ experiences

1. Musician or singer (20%)
2. Unique location – e.g. dining in the sky, dining underground, dining on a boat (19%)
3. Themed food (17%)
4. Themed drinks (16%)
5. Themed restaurant/bar interiors (14%)

As people look to return to restaurants after a difficult two years, the data shows that “eatertainment” experiences that go beyond ‘just food and drink’ are highly popular. The concept has largely been driven by Millennials and Gen Z looking to spend on experiences rather than ‘things’:

SevenRooms found that over two-thirds (71%) of 16-24s have been to a themed restaurant or bar concept, with musicians, unique locations, and themed food and drink the most popular inclusions. This is compared to just 25% of those over 45 having visited a themed restaurant or bar experience.

And while the research found average weekly spend in restaurants, pubs and bars across the UK is £40.38, increasing to a whopping £66.91 in Greater London, additional data has shown that “eatertainment” has the potential to boost spend even further in this crucial time for the hospitality industry. SevenRooms found that establishments that developed themed menus and activities around the Platinum Jubilee, for example, were expected to draw in an additional £221 million (£11.67 per head).

Inception Group, experts in creating unique, immersive food and drink experiences, are no strangers to the eatertainment concept. The company behind experiences such as the Pizza-Making Party at Bunga Bunga and Bootlegger Breakout at Cahoots has long partnered with SevenRooms to enhance its guest experience and operations with market-leading technology. The SevenRooms platform is used across all 13 of Inception Group’s properties.

Mischka Fogel, Head of Sales, Associate Director at Inception Group, says:
“The most important thing to us at Inception Group is making every guest feel like a VIP with unique, memorable food and drink experiences. We always look to go above and beyond to create something dynamic and innovative to draw guests in and wow them with an incredible experience.
Partnering with SevenRooms, our customer journey has really come together. We store and share guest preferences and information across venues. If someone with a long history at Mr. Fogg’s shows up to Bunga Bunga for the first time, for example, the maître d’ knows exactly who they are so they can recommend their favourite type of cocktail, avoid known allergens or remember their birthday. When we’re able to tailor each experience to our guests, it adds something a little special to each and every visit.”

Danilo Mangano, Managing Director International at SevenRooms, comments:

“Our data shows that visits to restaurants and bars are still a priority for UK consumers. In times when we’re having to think carefully about where our money goes, it’s interesting to see that many are looking to swap shopping excursions for drinks with friends or holidays for a night out at their favourite restaurant. Given these sacrifices, restaurants must ensure that they’re providing a dining experience that’s going to wow diners. Our research found almost 1 in 7 (13%) Brits would rather stay at home unless a restaurant experience is going to be outstanding.

As the summer heats up, success for hospitality venues will rely on operators’ abilities to deliver exceptional and meaningful experiences to guests, through ‘eatertainment’ focused trends and concepts and the right technology in place to facilitate them. Restaurants and bars that are willing to go the extra mile are sure to capitalise on guests’ appetites for special and memorable experiences.”