Impact of Cost of Living & Calorie Labelling Changes on Bookings Revealed

A survey by customer experience platform Feed It Back, has revealed the impact both the cost of living and calorie labelling changes have had on hospitality bookings.

From casual to premium dining, spanning pubs, bars and restaurants, the survey revealed that 58% of guests are less likely to book a venue if it doesn’t offer instant booking online, and six out of ten guests are less likely to book when a deposit is required.

Deposits have become industry standard since covid, however the report found guests are becoming averse to pre-payments – and encourages venues that implement them to explain the reasoning, such as the effect of no shows.

Guests were asked for their thoughts on the new calorie labelling changes too, and whether that impacts where they choose to go and what they consume whilst there – but currently, the effect is small.

41% said they are somewhat likely to change their dish for something with lower calories when they are visible when ordering, however the majority expressed they’re indifferent or not interested at all (48%).

When asked if they’ll look at calories when they’re available on the website before booking, 79% said no. Whilst opinions differ on this, it does show the pressure in building on food businesses to reassess their menu choices.

More prevalent within the younger age group, almost half of 18–24-year-olds said it is likely they would change their meal choice to a lower calorie option, compared to just 35% of over 65s.

However, when asked if they’ll specifically look at calories when they’re available on the website before booking a venue – 79% of those surveyed said no, showing it doesn’t go as far as affecting where they choose to go.

Also offering a glimpse into the future of the industry, the survey asked diners about their future plans for dining and drinking out, when faced with the cost-of-living challenges. When asked whether they’ll be spending more or less over the next few months, 36% said less but 59% said about the same.

When asked where they’ll be spending their disposable income, holidays aside, 50% of those surveyed said it would be on eating and drinking out (including coffee shop visits and lunch).

They were also asked for their thoughts on value for money and good-quality food was the biggest concern, with consumers flagging friendly service a close second. Cold food and wait time were also highlighted as two of the biggest reasons for complaints, showing high standards and speed should be a key focus for operators.

Looking further into consumer habits and thoughts when booking, choosing and paying for a venue, Feed It Back release a report twice a year, this time surveying over 58,000 diners across the UK.

Speaking on the report, Managing Director Dan Hawkie, commented, “This really is some of our most valuable data yet – highlighting the impact covid has had on consumer thoughts when it comes to hospitality, whilst people are also faced with new, cost of living challenges.

‘It’s not an easy time for anyone and we know those in hospitality will be worried – but our findings show a number of positives that operators can really focus on, to make this work.

“People are still planning on eating and drinking out as they enjoy an experience, which is a huge positive for the industry, but they want it to be easy and enjoyable.

‘Offering instant bookings, and ensuring you show good value for money through delicious food and great service, are just a few things highlighted that guests will be looking for. If venues can get this nailed, they’ll be in a positive position to tackle what’s ahead for the industry.”