Celebrating the diversity of cuisines in Britain


In conjunction with

Interatiional DiningWeek

Recommended Restaurants

Restaurant Capital of Britain

Homage Days :

Casserole Day
Spag Bol
Chicken Tikka Masala Day
Crispy Aromatic Duck
Chilli con Carne


Cuisines of London

Eating Out 'Did You Know'

Restaurant Groups in UK

Link to :

National Curry Week

The Curry Tree Charitable Fund

The Federation of Specialist Restaurants

Curry Capital of Britain

Media Partner

STOP PRESS (April 2011) :
The cost of eating out in the UK is rising faster than inflation, with an average three-course meal eaten out of home now costing almost £19 according to foodservice consultancy Horizons’ biannual survey.

Meal prices rose by 5.1 per cent during 2010, pushing the price of a three-course meal up from £18.03 in just one year, while the average dish across starters, mains and desserts now racks up to £6.78 – a 7.5 per cent increase on 2009.

 The above inflation price increase is largely down to main course dishes, which now cost £9.63, 7.3 per cent more than in 2009.

Pub meal prices increased at the fastest level across the hospitality industry, with a three-course meal now costing £15.45, 4.1 per cent more than a year ago.

A three-course restaurant meal now costs £20.92 (a 2.8 per cent increase), while that eaten at a hotel is now £26.26 (3.8 per cent increase).


Eating out becomes a modern growth phenomenon

(for latest figures scroll to bottom)
As consumers become increasingly bold with their meal choices it is estimated that the ethnic food industry will rise 45.1% between 2012 and 2016 (Key Note), having grown by 11% in 2011 alone. The cooking sauces and food seasonings market will rise 6.5% between 2013 and 2017 having risen by 2% in 2012.

Since 1990 we have had a very real culinary revolution in Britain, meaning that in 2013 we are, as a nation, eating out more than ever before.

This is for a variety of reasons, many of which are due to the changing nature of daily life in Britain and other social factors. These include the changes in family make-up, more women out at work rather than running the home, the pace of modern life and the lack of time available for 'family dining', the growth in ready meals, a the growing lack of cooking knowledge of successive generations and lastly the availability of a very vibrant and varied restaurant industry.

A report from the Office for National Statistics in 2006 trumpeted that "The value of households' spending on eating out has passed spending on food sector products eaten at home in 2004, and doubled between 1992 and 2004".

Cultural changes in food consumption, with people eating out more regularly and enjoying a wider range of cuisine, continue to have an impact on the UK economy according to the report. Household spending on fresh and processed food and drink products was £85.8 billion in 2004, up 53.4 per cent between 1992 and 2004. Over the same period, spending on food and drink products consumed outside the home grew by 102.2 per cent, to £87.5 billion in 2004.

Household spending on all food sector products was £173.3 billion in 2004, up 74.6 per cent between 1992 and 2004. By comparison, spending on catering products consumed outside the home grew by 102.2 per cent. In 2004, the contribution of the food sector to whole economy GVA accounted for £80.3 billion, 7.7 per cent of the total. GVA for the food sector grew by 39.5 per cent between 1995 and 2004 compared with the growth of GVA for the whole economy of 63.0 per cent over the same period.

By 2005 according to Horizons/Foodservice Intelligence UK had 26,416 restaurants serving 734 million meals at value of £7.61 bn inc drinks. In 2010 there were 420,034 catering outlets (restaurants, catering, canteens) with 112,769 enterprises employing 1,415,000 (National Statistics).

By contrast Sheffield Hallum University gave eating out figures of 2008 £86.7 - 2009 £85.6 showing a 1.3% drop, the first drop for many years, - 50/50 food. Meanwhile spend in European-style restaurants, those with Italian, Spanish, British and French menus, rose 19%, with the average price paid rising from £17.20 in 2004 to £20.51 in 2008. Spend in Chinese and Indian restaurants rose 16%, with consumers paying an average of £12.66 for an ethnic meal.

A Mitchells Butler review recently saw eating away from home 2010 back up to peak of £42.6 bn after small fall in 2009. Over the last four decades the proportion of household expenditure spent on eating out and drinking out has been constant at between 8 and 9%, however the proportion of eating out has grown from 36% to 60%.

Key findings include:

o On average in 2010 UK consumers spent £8.54 a week on eating out plus £1.72 on takeaways and £6.19 on alcohol. (£24.50 household expenditure).

* Household expenditure on food and drink in 2010 was £98.7bn falling 5.20% in real terms 2007-2010.

* Food prices rose 12% in real terms 2007-2010 (3x as much compared with France).

o 7.7 billion informal meals are eaten out a year in the UK, or 128 meals for every person in the UK

o There are now 250,500 informal eating out establishments across the UK, of which an estimated 108,400 are independent - 43% of the total number of outlets

o Eating out accounts for 22% of what we spend on food and drink compared to just 14% in 1969

o The informal eating out sector is now a top ten industry and employs 1.13 million people in the UK

The impact of the recession:

o The value of eating out was expected to be £40.3billion in 2009 - a fall of 0.5% from 2008. This is the first time there has been a decline since the 'informal eating out market' emerged in the 1960s

o 15,000 jobs were lost in the sector 2009

o In 2009, we were eating 1 in 9 meals away from home, down from 1 in 8 in 2008

o 35% of people ate out less in 2009, 20% planned to eat out less in 2010

o Growth returned in 2010 with the market expected to grow again to £47.5 billion by 2014 thanks to rising trends in affluence, mobility, more youthful older customers and an Olympics boost in 2012

o By Q3 in 2010 Eating Out was up 1.6% to be back to the late 2007 level after the 2009 slump.

In general terms, the most popular ethnic cuisine in mainland Europe is Oriental, which encompasses both Chinese and South-East Asian foods and accounts for around 70% of the market on mainland Europe, whereas it accounts for less than 30% in the UK.

"This is due to the presence of large Chinese communities in the Republic of Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands and France," said Walker of Keynote, "the influence of which has also driven sales of Oriental foods to non-ethnic customers."

In the UK Chinese and Indian cuisines (27.5% and 41.7% in value terms) "typically dominate the market", with Mexican/Tex Mex, Thai as other major players on the up, although novel cuisines such as Caribbean and Polish are also marking inroads with "rapid growth".

Competition is cut-throat amongst suppliers and manufacturers, who "perpetually have to reinvent products and innovate to maintain customer interest and loyalty. This involves a constant refreshing of their lines as well as new product development, brand extensions and advertising campaigns."

After the hiccup of 2009, the Eating Out market in Britain continues to be on an upward trend with one of the success areas being in Cooking Sauces which has experienced a growth of 31% since 2005 reaching £833 million in 2010.

With nearly £2 billion (US$3.1 billion) in annual sales, the high-growth, high-value UK pizza sector also offers serious opportunity for operators

STOP PRESS 2011 Estimated at £3.3 billion in 2010, the prepared meals and pies and pasties market has experienced growth of 11.9% between 2005 and 2010 (Mintel). British dishes account for £355m of £1bn-a-year ready meals market. Expected to reach £2.7 billion in 2010, the ready meals market has grown by just 7% since 2005. The market contracted in 2008 as a result of consumer cut backs, but has bounced back strongly since, suggesting that the six million users switching to more cooking have not been lost for good.

STOP PRESS 2012 There’s a new for trend eating out in the UK and it’s rapidly overtaking the traditional fast food restaurants that have fared so well as consumers ‘trade down’ in the recession. Research from expert foodservice analysts, The NPD Group, reveals that since their arrival in the UK in 2001, fast casual restaurants – that combine the ambiance of a full service restaurant with the speed and delivery of a fast food/quick service restaurant (QSR) – have built a 3.0% share of the £49.2 billion foodservice market in the UK.

In fact, for the 12 months ending March 2012, the fast casual sector posted a 3.6% increase in consumer visits and sales growth of 2.5%. This compares to a 0.9% increase in consumer visits and 1.6% sales growth for QSR, a channel considered by many to be the bright spot in foodservice over the last few years. Fast casual restaurants that offer consumers a fresh alternative to traditional fast food generally pay greater attention to food quality and service, as well as ambiance, décor and design. Chains such as Chipotle, offering Mexican food and Vapiano, with its fresh take on Italian food, epitomise the attributes of fast casual dining. Others include Nandos, where consumers pay for their meals when ordered, enabling them to leave when they choose without waiting for the bill. Food is priced to enable young consumers to dine out.

Despite the problems for London restaurants with the Olympic Games, Harden's Guide notes that there have been 134 new openings in London in the past year (up 25%) compared to 74 closures (steady).

2013 There are now 226,350 informal eating out outlets dominated by fast food with Subway leading the expansion with 134 new stores and Dominos with 102. (Allegra). Jamie Oliver's high street chain Jamie's Italian is the brand with the highest sales per outlet. They also found eating out to be more frequent with 4.1 lunchtime visits per month in 2011 as against 4.2 in 2012 and dinner from 2.4 in 2011 to 2.7 in 2012. Lunchtime spend was down from £7.34 to £7.07 but diner up from £13.11 to £14.37.

Food prices rose in UK 22% between 2007 and 2013 whilst rising only 12% in Germany and 13% in France. Household expenditure on food and drink was £107bn in 2012 with consumers spending £80.7bn on catering services. Consumer expenditure continued to rise in 2012 to £188 billion on food, drink and catering with the spend on alcohol up 6%.

Alcohol was 61% more expensive in UK than in France with prices in UK the highest in the EU apart from Turkey, Ireland and the Scadinavian countries.

2014 - There are now estimated to be 2000 Thai restaurants in UK with Trip Advisor listing 359 in London alone. The total food service and hospitality market will be £90bn by 2018 (Allegra). 19 million eat out at least once a week compared with 17m in 2013 and total outlets wuill reach 337,000 by 2018 (Allegra). Main trend remains value for money.

2015 - Underlying the growth of Japanese cuisine in UK there are now some 700 Japanese restaurants.*

Favourite cuisines(Living, Social UK & IE Report)

When it comes to our favourite foods, Indian (21.2%) and Chinese (20.8%) meals out are the most popular, while traditional British cuisine ranked third, with 18.5% noting it as their favourite. Analysing the gender split revealed that Italian is more popular with women (21.3%), while British meals are more popular with men (21.7%).

Cuisines in short supply

While the cuisines above are readily available throughout the UK and Ireland, the report reveals that the restaurants diners consider to be lacking are Brazilian (45.1%), Vietnamese (44%) and Caribbean (42%). Edinburgh, Leeds and Sheffield showed a strong demand for Greek eateries, while in the south, in Cardiff, Bristol, Southampton and London, demand is high for Japanese cuisine*

Organiser : Peter Grove (in conjunction with The Federation of Specialist Restaurants)

P.O. Box 416 Surbiton Surrey KT1 9BJ Tel : 020 8399 4831 email : groveint@aol.com