HGEM Survey Reveals Surprise And Delight Moments Matter With Diners Spending More

The latest research by Guest Experience Management expert HGEM has revealed thought-provoking insight into how to make diners spend more. The comprehensive survey explores some unexpected drivers of incremental spend, with 52% of diners now wanting more from their pub or casual dining experience.

Perhaps most surprisingly, over a third of customers (37%) would purchase at least one item from a pet-friendly menu and would willingly spend at least an additional £2.50 (17%) or £5.00 (15%). Of those, up to 25% would buy two items, demonstrating that Britain’s reputation as a pet-loving nation that spends £57 billion on their pets every year1, can extend even to the pet owners’ dining-out experiences.

In a world that celebrates ‘Instagram-worthy’ moments, it should not be surprising that 70% of customers that encounter a sense of theatre and excitement at their table would spend more while dining out. A fantastically presented drink or food item that becomes a talking point would prompt 28% of diners to spend up to £5.00 more, whilst the same percentage would fork out anything between £7.50 and £12.50 more. Proving that personalisation is also a key part of the customer experience, 57% of customers would pay more if they could easily personalise their drink or food experience, for example creating their own cocktail.

The end of a meal doesn’t have to mark the end of the incremental spend opportunity, with the survey revealing that operators offering a tailored ‘to-go’ menu presented at the end of the dining experience – for example mini dessert options or a cheese platter – would encourage close to 67% of customers to pay between £2.50 and £12.50 more.

The research also reveals the role technology can play in improving service. Around a third of customers (30%) would order more if a touch screen device or app meant avoiding the inevitable queuing at the bar, with most of them open to spending between £5 and £12.50 more.

Sally Whelan, Founding Director of HGEM commented: “For operators looking to increase their incremental spend and differentiate themselves from competitors, this survey makes a case for adding interesting ‘Instagrammable’ experiences at the table and providing diners with options to personalise their, or their pet’s, meal and take home a ‘doggy bag’ with a difference. Operators might be doing a great job of engaging their customers but adding moments that surprise and delight will help drive loyalty and profitability.”