The total implied value of the Eating Out Market fell 1% between Q2 2016 and the same period this year, the latest consumer data from MCA has shown.

The Eating Out Panel Q2 2017 report shows that there was a 6% fall in visit frequency over the year, to an average of 15.6 visits. Frequency fell at all dayparts except lunch. The overall value decline is despite a 5% rise in average spend per visit. Average spend was up across dayparts but most significantly at dinner and snacking, both at 7%.

Participation – the percentage of UK adults eating out – hit a three-year high, at 94.4%.

The research shows that at lunch, the most buoyant daypart, consumers are increasingly value and convenience conscious, with these becoming more important needs. Visiting for a treat is becoming less common, while work/study breaks are more so.

Sandwich retailers saw the biggest increase in their share of the market over the year – with their participation level up from 71.5% to 75.7% across the year.

Pub restaurants were the channel most visited for an out-of-home dinner, with all dayparts in growth except lunch. Six out of 10 of the most visited brands for dinner were pubs, with JD Wetherspoon ranked top. Toby Carvery, the fifth most popular brand for an out-of-home dinner, was the best scored of the top 10 in terms of likelihood to both recommend and revisit at this time of the day.

A greater proportion of out-of-home meals took place in independent restaurants compared to Q2 last year, with the most significant 3 percentage point (pp) rise at dinner, where independents now account for a quarter of all occasions.

Conversely, a declining proportion of out of home lunch and dinner occasions were at fast food outlets, with both KFC and Burger King losing share of occasions at both dayparts. McDonald’s, however, is more often visited for an out-of-home breakfast, lunch or dinner than in the same period in 2016.

Across the majority of top 10 brands, the analysis shows that consumers are more willing to both recommend and revisit than a year ago.

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