The launch of the Allegra Foodservice’s UK Restaurant Market report saw the headline: “A new era of premiumised informality driven by food pleasure seekers.” And this message reaches across all elements of the restaurant market, from street food to fine dining.

The UK restaurant landscape is undergoing a period of significant change, with a renaissance of pubs, strong emergence of new fast food operations, and a plethora of street food markets nationwide.  These concepts are enabling consumers to enjoy premium food in an informal setting.

Allegra Foodservice have insight showing the growing demand from consumers to have ‘what they want, when they want it’ helping to drive the informal casual dining experience.  Pubs are obviously in a great position to deliver this, however it is the new style of pubs that are specifically winning.  The example of Loungers proves this point, as their growth is coming from providing great food (and drinks) in an informal comfortable setting – like your own lounge – in locations that were traditionally the realm of wet-led boozers.

Premiumisation has been reported on by Allegra Foodservice over the last couple of years as a key consumer trend, with examples ranging from Hungry Horse offering a £19.99 ‘Supersaurus’ dish of two 20oz Rump steaks, (not as a sharing platter) encouraging some of their customers to step up their spend, and start to get used to paying more in a value-led environment, through to Five Guys increasing the cost perceptions of burgers, with a large burger, fries and drink costing over £15.

Though the recession has eased, there has been a strong value legacy, with consumers expecting value delivered across all occasions from every channel. It can be said that there has been a heavy cloak of value sitting on consumers’ shoulders. The new era for the restaurant market is identifying that consumers are becoming more interested in food, more willing to seek indulgence and shrug off that heavy cloak of value – in colloquial terms, the ‘sod-it’ factor.

This is combined with a wider range of premiumised food offers, improving quality offers in pubs, and an overall better economic situation. Allegra Foodservice has researched the strength of the foodie culture in the UK, and we are now defining those foodie consumers as “Food Pleasure Seekers” – adventurous and passionate about food, looking for premiumised food at all price points and on all occasions.

So, premiumised informality, a new term for a new era. It heralds a renaissance for pubs, a continuing growth for casual dining branded restaurant chains, changes for the fine dining sector, and significant growth for new fast food, and street food sectors.