TV Obsession Sees Almost 10 Million Miss Out On More Than 5 Hours Of Mealtime Conversation Every Week

mealtimeWe are a nation of box set obsessives, according to new research revealed by Bookatable – Europe’s largest restaurant booking platform. Almost one in four of us (24 per cent) prize watching box sets above all activities and have cancelled plans to stay in and binge watch TV shows rather than go out to dinner with friends.

The findings show that almost a third (27 per cent) of Brits are more likely to eat in silence in front of a screen than dine at a table having conversations with friends or family; almost half (48 per cent) of the nation spend between three and seven hours a day watching box sets or TV, and almost 10 million (9,890,780) of us miss out on 5 hours 16 minutes of mealtime conversation each week.

Bookatable’s research highlights that there is more to dining out than just great food, with restaurants providing a richer experience and atmosphere than dining in front of the TV. The shared experience of dining out encourages people to try new foods and spend quality time with friends and family.

The majority of us (52 per cent) feel that dining in a restaurant remains one of the few places where it is still possible to fully switch off from technology to enjoy a meal and conversation without distraction. In light of these findings, Bookatable has developed a series of box set inspired restaurant menus bringing to life some of the UK’s favourite shows including Game of Thrones and Mad Men – and encourage dinner table conversation.

Enjoyment of food is fundamental to the British public, but our box set obsession is threatening this valued experience. A third (33 per cent) of Brits who eat TV dinners reveal that they have let food go cold or not taken the time to savour dishes whilst engrossed in box sets. Presentation is key with 35 per cent of sofa diners preferring beautifully presented dishes in a restaurant setting to ordering the same dish through a food delivery service.

The findings highlight that being encouraged to have new culinary experiences in restaurants is important. A quarter Britons (24 per cent) miss the variety of foods and flavours available at restaurants and admit to ordering the same takeaway dishes time and time again. One in ten diners also said (12 per cent) restaurants make them more adventurous, encouraging them to try new foods.

The lure of box sets means that over a third Brits (37 per cent) use food delivery services two to four times a week to accompany a night in front of the TV. A further quarter (23 per cent) would dine out more with friends and try new restaurants if they did not have box sets to take up their time.

Whilst restaurants actively encourage dinner table discussion, a third of the nation (34 per cent) believe that thanks to box sets and TV services they spend less time talking to their friends and family: a tenth of Brits (10 per cent) refuse to talk when watching TV through fear of missing out on their show. A third of people (36 per cent) do not consider the conversations they do have whilst watching TV to be meaningful, however almost half (45 per cent) say that they have the most significant conversations when they dedicate time to each other without distractions, such as when dining out.

To further compound the shared experience that dining out offers, a third (35 per cent) of Brits say they have experienced a life changing event in a restaurant that they would have missed out on by staying at home. Nearly one in ten (eight per cent) met a romantic partner or were proposed to in a restaurant setting, or met a new friend (nine per cent).

The opportunity to have new experiences is a popular pull to get diners off sofas and into restaurants. Being able to try new foods and flavours (34 per cent), having new experiences and trying new places (30 per cent) and meeting new people (13 per cent) are top reasons why British diners prefer to eat out than order in.

Joe Steele, CEO of Bookatable, commented: “The rise of the box set has changed the way that Brits spend their leisure time, with binge watching boxsets a common past time. The popularity of shows however has seen a negative knock-on effect on the quality time Brits spend with loved ones. Bookatable has been inspired by some of the UK’s favourite shows to create box set inspired restaurant meals to encourage Brits to get off the silent sofa and onto a table full of conversation.”

Acting on the findings, Bookatable has partnered with chefs at Bird of Smithfield (Game of Thrones), STK (Entourage), M restaurant (Billions) and MASH (Mad Men) to develop a series of box set inspired meals with TV fans in mind