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The Theatre of Eating Out - UK - April 2009

This report is the first from Mintel that looks at the ‘Theatre of Eating Out’. It explores the changing consumer preferences for eating out and the ways in which a meal out becomes an ‘experience’.

The variety of theatrical elements that can be associated with eating out is enormous and can include factors such as a spectacular building, setting or view, live entertainment, and food preparation and presentation. This report explores a selection of these elements, drawn from a mixture of venue types, from fine dining to fast food.

The report draws upon consumer research conducted for Mintel by GMI, which found that after good food, service and value, the two key priorities for consumers is to have plenty of time and space to enjoy the meal. The entertainment value for young adults surrounds music and a theme whereas for the older generations this is subtler in the ambience, the food displays and a feeling of personal service.

This report investigates the hypothesis: ‘As consumers are forced to tighten their belts, restaurants have to work harder at giving them reasons to eat out: but which parts of the eating out ‘experience’ are really important to diners and which are just passing fads?’

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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Main issues
        • Definition
          • CHAID Analysis explained
            • Abbreviations
            • Future Opportunities

              • Building engagement
                • Differentiation
                  • Local community
                  • Market in Brief

                    • Impact of the recession on eating out
                      • Theatrical elements
                        • Views: Inside and out
                          • Food presentation
                            • Customer service
                              • Consumer eating out trends
                                • Restaurant formats
                                  • Why consumers eat out
                                    • Experience factors which could entice consumers
                                    • Internal Market Environment

                                      • Key points
                                        • A few rays of light in a backdrop of gloom
                                          • Eating out stays on the agenda
                                            • Figure 1: Agreement with selected lifestyle statements, 2004-08
                                          • Something entertaining is not universally needed
                                            • Figure 2: The importance of the decision drivers, by type of outlet, 2008
                                          • Day time dining increasingly popular
                                            • Figure 3: Visiting of restaurants for a meal in the last 12 months, 2004-08
                                          • Monitoring trade
                                          • Broader Market Environment

                                            • Key points
                                              • The economy in recession
                                                • Figure 4: Trends in personal disposable income and consumer expenditure, 2004-14
                                              • Consumer confidence continues to plumb the depths
                                                • Figure 5: GfK NOP Consumer Confidence Index, Jan 2008-Jan 2009
                                              • Where consumers say they will cut back…
                                                • Figure 6: Spending cutbacks over the past six months, December 2008
                                              • …and where their priorities really lie
                                                • Figure 7: Consumer spending priorities, March 2009
                                              • Demographic boost for restaurant trade
                                                • Figure 8: UK adult population trends, by socio-economic group, 2004-14
                                            • Themed Restaurants

                                              • Key points
                                                • Consumer research results
                                                  • Figure 9: ‘Themed restaurants’ as an enticement for eating out, by age, January 2009
                                                • The end of the road for themed restaurants?
                                                  • Themes – limited time offers
                                                  • Décor and Restaurant Design

                                                    • Key points
                                                      • Consumer research results
                                                        • Figure 10: ‘Spacious seating’ as an enticement for eating out, by gender, January 2009
                                                      • Back to basics
                                                        • Loo of the Year Awards
                                                          • Destination restaurants
                                                            • Award winning interiors
                                                              • Creating a stir
                                                                • A room with a view
                                                                  • Makeovers and new beginnings
                                                                    • Larger than life
                                                                      • You can’t please everyone
                                                                      • Serving Formats

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • Consumer research results
                                                                            • Figure 11: Selected serving techniques as enticements for eating out, by age, January 2009
                                                                          • Double-edged sword
                                                                            • Chef watch
                                                                              • Teppanyaki
                                                                                • Carveries
                                                                                  • Seeing is believing
                                                                                    • Self-service
                                                                                      • No waiter, no waiting
                                                                                        • Cook your own
                                                                                          • Tabletop grilling
                                                                                            • Other innovations
                                                                                              • Communal dining
                                                                                                • And now for something completely different…
                                                                                                • Products/Menus

                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                    • Consumer research results
                                                                                                      • Figure 12: Selected menu formats as enticements for eating out, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                    • Serving suggestions
                                                                                                      • The language of menus
                                                                                                        • Health and well-being descriptions
                                                                                                        • Customer Service

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • Consumer research results
                                                                                                              • Figure 13: ‘Being able to take time over a meal‘ as an enticement for eating out, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                            • The importance of customer service
                                                                                                              • Figure 14: Most popular attitudes towards customer service when eating out, January 2008
                                                                                                            • Value for money means experience not just food
                                                                                                              • Dual role servers
                                                                                                                • Communication with chefs
                                                                                                                • Entertainment

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • Consumer research results
                                                                                                                      • Figure 15: Selected entertainment factors as an enticement for eating out, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                    • Legislation
                                                                                                                      • Dance
                                                                                                                        • Music
                                                                                                                          • Putting on an act
                                                                                                                            • Variety and other entertainment
                                                                                                                            • Eating Out Venues

                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                • Figure 16: Venues eaten at in the past six months, January 2009
                                                                                                                            • Reasons for Eating Out

                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                • Special occasion versus regular treat: demographic dependent
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 17: Reasons for eating out, January 2009
                                                                                                                                • Catch up at casual diners
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 18: Most popular eating out venues, by reasons for eating out, January 2009
                                                                                                                                • Regular treats in snacking-type outlets
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 19: Next most popular eating out venues, by reasons for eating out, January 2009
                                                                                                                                • Eating out as an antidote to the daily drudge
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 20: Most popular reasons for eating out, by reasons for eating out, January 2009
                                                                                                                                • Eat out to relieve boredom
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 21: Next most popular reasons for eating out, by reasons for eating out, January 2009
                                                                                                                              • Making the Eating Out Experience More Enjoyable

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • A relaxed atmosphere more important to some than a flexible menu
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 22: Experience enticements for eating out, January 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Atmosphere over overt theatrics
                                                                                                                                    • Menu matters
                                                                                                                                      • Time and space liked by coffee shop customers
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 23: Most popular eating out venues, by experience enticements for eating out, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Quiet and spacious carveries
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 24: Next most popular eating out venues, by experience enticements for eating out, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Something for the lovers
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 25: Most popular reasons for eating out, by experience enticements for eating out, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Live music for the 20-24-year-olds looking for a meal replacement
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 26: Next most popular reasons for eating out, by experience enticements for eating out, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Displays can help build assurance
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 27: Most popular experience enticements for eating out, by experience enticements for eating out, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Younger diners like additional stimulation
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 28: Next most popular experience enticements for eating out, by experience enticements for eating out, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Electronic menus to tap into the ‘trendy’ market
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 29: Other popular experience enticements for eating out, by experience enticements for eating out, January 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Theatre of Eating out – Targeting Opportunities

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • CHAID analysis
                                                                                                                                          • The main target groups identified
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 30: CHAID analysis of restaurant venues, January 2009
                                                                                                                                          • Repertoire – Number of reasons for eating out at restaurants/outlets
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 31: Number of reasons for eating out at restaurants/outlets, January 2009
                                                                                                                                            • Target groups on how best to improve the experience of eating out
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 32: Theatre of eating out target groups, January 2009
                                                                                                                                            • Leisurely Diners
                                                                                                                                              • Family Foremost
                                                                                                                                                • Adventurous Diners
                                                                                                                                                  • Apathetic
                                                                                                                                                    • Wine Focused
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Eating Out Venues

                                                                                                                                                      • Most popular venues eaten at in the past six months, by detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Most popular venues eaten at in the past six months, by detailed demographics, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                      • Next most popular venues eaten at in the past six months, by detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 34: Next most popular venues eaten at in the past six months, by detailed demographics, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                      • Most popular venues eaten at in the past six months, by venues
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 35: Most popular venues eaten at in the past six months, by venues eaten at in the past six months, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                      • Next most popular venues eaten at in the past six months, by venues
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 36: Next most popular venues eaten at in the past six months, by venues eaten at in the past six months, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Reasons for Eating Out

                                                                                                                                                      • Most popular reasons for eating out, by detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 37: Most popular reasons for eating out, by detailed demographics, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                      • Next most popular reasons for eating out, by detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 38: Next most popular reasons for eating out, by detailed demographics, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Making the Eating Out Experience More Enjoyable

                                                                                                                                                      • Most popular experience enticements for eating out, by detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 39: Most popular experience enticements for eating out, by detailed demographics, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                      • Next most popular experience enticements for eating out, by detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 40: Next most popular experience enticements for eating out, by detailed demographics, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                      • Other popular experience enticements for eating out, by detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 41: Other popular experience enticements for eating out, by detailed demographics, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Theatre of Eating Out: Targeting Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                      • Theatre of eating out – repertoire analysis
                                                                                                                                                        • Number of reasons for eating out at restaurants/outlets, by detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 42: Number of reasons for eating out at restaurants/outlets, by detailed demographics, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                        • Number of reasons for eating out at restaurants/outlets, by reasons stated
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 43: Number of reasons for eating out at restaurants/outlets, by reasons stated, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                        • Number of reasons for eating out at restaurants/outlets, by venues
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 44: Number of reasons for eating out at restaurants/outlets, by venues eaten at in the last six months, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                        • Theatre of eating out – target groups
                                                                                                                                                          • Theatre of eating out target groups, by detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 45: Theatre of eating out target groups, by detailed demographics, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Theatre of eating out target groups, by reasons for eating out at restaurants/outlets
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 46: Theatre of eating out target groups, by reasons for eating out at restaurants/outlets, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Theatre of eating out target groups, by experience enticements for eating out
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 47: Theatre of eating out target groups, by experience enticements for eating out, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Theatre of eating out target groups, by number of reasons for eating out
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 48: Theatre of eating out target groups, by number of reasons for eating out at restaurants/outlets, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Theatre of eating out target groups, by types of venues
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 49: Theatre of eating out target groups, by types of venues eaten at in the last six months, January 2009

                                                                                                                                                        Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                        • Aldi Stores Ltd (UK & Ireland)
                                                                                                                                                        • Antony Worrall Thompson
                                                                                                                                                        • Asda Group Ltd
                                                                                                                                                        • BMW (GB) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                        • British Market Research Bureau (BMRB)
                                                                                                                                                        • British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (BSkyB)
                                                                                                                                                        • Burger King UK Ltd
                                                                                                                                                        • Co-operative Group
                                                                                                                                                        • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                        • Gfk NOP
                                                                                                                                                        • Gourmet Burger Kitchen
                                                                                                                                                        • Government Actuary's Department (GAD)
                                                                                                                                                        • Hard Rock Cafe
                                                                                                                                                        • Harvey Nichols UK
                                                                                                                                                        • J. Sainsbury
                                                                                                                                                        • JD Wetherspoon
                                                                                                                                                        • La Tasca Restaurants Ltd
                                                                                                                                                        • Lidl (UK)
                                                                                                                                                        • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                                                        • McDonald's Restaurants Limited (UK)
                                                                                                                                                        • Nandos UK
                                                                                                                                                        • Office for National Statistics
                                                                                                                                                        • Pizza Hut
                                                                                                                                                        • PizzaExpress Limited
                                                                                                                                                        • PricewaterhouseCoopers
                                                                                                                                                        • T-Mobile (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                        • Tesco Plc
                                                                                                                                                        • The Orchid Group
                                                                                                                                                        • Virgin Media Ltd
                                                                                                                                                        • Virgin Mobile
                                                                                                                                                        • Vodafone Group Plc (UK)
                                                                                                                                                        • Wagamama Ltd
                                                                                                                                                        • Waitrose
                                                                                                                                                        • Wm Morrison Supermarkets

                                                                                                                                                        The Theatre of Eating Out - UK - April 2009

                                                                                                                                                        £1,995.00 (Excl.Tax)