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Wed 30th Jul 2014 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

PizzaExpress finances £610m bond in a matter of days: PizzaExpress has successfully refinanced its existing capital structure by raising £610m in notes in the wake of its acquisition for £900m by the Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital, according to reports. The issue was split between a £410m secured seven-year high-yield bond, with a leverage ratio of 4.3 times, and a £200m unsecured eight-year note, with a leverage of 6.5 times. The financing was one of the biggest ever sponsor-backed sterling high-yield packages and the fourth biggest in a sponsor-backed acquisition across Europe so far this year, according to the data provider Dealogic. Both tranches were multiple times oversubscribed within the first two days of the roadshow in London, and the banks that had underwritten the acquisition financing were able to close early and avoid further exposure to volatile markets. Meetings with potential investors in Hong Kong were cancelled. The level of demand and spend of execution was particularly notable given rough high-yield bond markets over the past week due to heightened risk awareness after escalating violence in eastern Ukraine. Extensive pre-marketing also helped early momentum and the bonds were priced at the tighter end of the range. Hony Capital’s chief executive, John Zhao, said: “The casual dining category is probably going to be the fastest-growing sub-segment of the restaurant sector in China.” PizzaExpress plans a further 200 restaurant openings in the UK and another 200 across key growth markets such as China and India, according to its interim report.

Industry News:

Loungers books entire operations team into Professor Chris Muller management masterclass: Propel Info is breaking new ground by hosting the US’s leading thinker, teacher and author on multi-site foodservice management, Professor Chris Muller, at its next Multi Site Management Masterclass on Friday, 26 September. The cafe bar brand Loungers has already booked its 13-strong operations team into the seminar. Leading UK businesses such as Mitchells & Butlers and TGI Friday’s have sent staff to be taught by Professor Muller at Boston University’s School of Hospitality. Now the professor is coming to the UK for the first time to lead this bespoke day. His interactive seminar will include contributions from the chief executive of Shake Shack, Randy Garutti, and a live case study from SSP. The event will provide valuable insights for founders and area managers of small and medium-sized multi-site companies and area managers of large companies. Those also booking tickets so far include Ed’s Easy Diner, Draft House, Castle Rock Brewery, McMullen & Sons, Hall & Woodhouse, Bourne Leisure, Beds and Bars, TLC Inns, Dorbiere, Bulldog Hotel Group and Yummy Pub Company. Tickets are £345 plus VAT, and £295 plus VAT for ALMR members. To download or view the leaflet as a PDF file please click here http://www.propelinfo.com/multi-site-management-masterclass-leaflet-sep14.pdf. To book tickets please contact: jo.charity@propelinfo.com

US craft beer sales up 18% so far in 2014: The US Brewers Association says craft brewers in the United States sold ten million barrels of beer in the first half of this year, up 18% from the half-way mark in 2013. Some of the smallest craft breweries are seeing the biggest growth, according to Brewers Association economist Bart Watson. “People are looking for that connection to a local product and local micro-breweries and brew pubs can be more nimble in their offerings and more nimble in how they connect with their local consumers,” Watson said. There are some 3,000 craft brewers in the United States now, but Watson says the US’s appetite for beer from small producers is nowhere near the saturation point. “I think the demand for beer from small independent producers has a lot of room to grow,” Watson said. “Think about how many neighbourhoods could take another high-quality brewery that serves as a local brew pub or a micro tasting room.”

Company insolvencies down, personal insolvencies up, says Insolvency Service: The number of company liquidations in England and Wales fell in the quarter to June 2014 compared with April to June 2013, according to the Insolvency Service. Administrations, company voluntary arrangements and receiverships were also lower than a year ago. However, the number of people who became insolvent in England and Wales increased compared with the same quarter last year. This is because of an increase of a fifth in the number of individual voluntary arrangements, while the number of bankruptcies and debt relief orders fell. The Insolvency Service’s deputy chief executive, Graham Horne, said: “[The] figures show that more people have become insolvent than last year. More than half the people entering formal insolvency are now using individual voluntary arrangements [IVAs] to deal with their debts compared with other forms of personal insolvencies. Over the last year, there was a 20% increase in IVAs while bankruptcies and debt relief orders decreased. Company liquidations decreased over the past three months, reflecting a similar trend over the past year.”

Twizoo app harnesses Twitter’s power to whet appetites for London restaurants and pubs: An app has been launched that claims to make finding great places to eat and drink while out and about in London quicker, easier and more intuitive. The team behind the app, called Twizoo, claim that instead of forcing users to trawl through endless anonymous comments on desktop review sites, it harnesses the power of Twitter to show users what is nearby, what’s hot or not, while also highlighting places with something special going on. The app distils tweets about more than 25,000 London restaurants and pubs into what is claimed to be a simple, intuitive real-time view. For every review of a restaurant on TripAdvisor, there are, according to the Twizoo team, seven tweets about it, allowing Twizoo to provide in-depth insight through a “simple, fun interface”. Madeline Parra, co-founder of Twizoo, said: “I found myself wading through a lot of dated, irrelevant reviews when I was planning evenings out. I thought it would be great if I could see feedback about restaurants and pubs that was more authentic and more real-time, while also allowing me to see what’s on at a restaurant or pub right now, all in one place. That’s Twizoo.”

Booker withdraws Chef’s Larder Madras Curry Powder: Wholesaler Booker has withdrawn Chef’s Larder Madras Curry Powder with a ‘best before’ end date of March 2017 and batch code LEP 048771 as a precautionary measure. This is because salmonella was found during routine testing. Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause food poisoning. The FSA has issued a Product Withdrawal Information Notice. The product has been distributed to caterer establishments only and Booker has told all its customers to withdraw the product. A product notice has been published on Booker’s website, explaining to customers why the product has been withdrawn and what they can do if they have bought the affected product.

McDonald’s told by labour regulator in the US that it “employs” franchised staff: McDonald’s in the US has reported it has been notified by a labour regulator that it can be named a “joint employer” for workers in its franchisee-owned restaurants. The decision by the National Labor Relations Board will be closely watched because it could potentially expose McDonald’s to liability for the working conditions in its franchisees’ stores. It also puts pressure on the company at a time when protests for higher wages in the fast-food industry have captured national attention. The ruling comes after the labour board’s legal team investigated myriad complaints by staff in the last 20 months, accusing McDonald’s and its franchisees of unfair labour practices. Richard F Griffin Jr, the labour board’s general counsel, said he found merit in 43 of the 181 claims, accusing McDonald’s restaurants of illegally firing, threatening or otherwise penalising workers for their pro-labour activities. In those cases, Griffin said he would include McDonald’s as a joint employer, a classification that could hold the company responsible for actions taken at thousands of its restaurants. Roughly 90% of the chain’s restaurants in the US are franchise operations.

Company News:

Peel Hunt – Domino’s German sore continues to weep: Peel Hunt’s leisure analyst Nick Batram, issuing a ‘Hold’ note on Domino’s Pizza after yesterday’s half-year results, has described its performance in Germany performance as a “disaster” and a “sore that continues to weep”. Batram said: “The plan to transition all but one store to franchisees has proven more difficult than anticipated and at the same time LFL sales have now turned negative (down 1.7%). As a consequence losses in Germany increased to £4.7m (from £3.2m), although there are c£2.3m of one-off costs included in this figure. Four stores have been closed. An interesting comment in the statement reads: ‘We have also focused on our financial reporting to ensure we have better oversight of the business performance.’ This confirms our fear that the issues in Germany have been exacerbated by historic poor management. Despite the pain, management remain committed to Germany. Switzerland was more positive where LFL sales (up 2.9%) improved after a weak start and the £0.4m loss was in line with expectations. On balance the strong performance from the UK offsets the continuing disaster in Germany. However, the latter still hangs heavy on sentiment. Even stripping Germany out the valuation looks about right: yes the rating is c20% below its historic average, but then again, EPS growth is half of the historic average. No change to numbers, although we are increasing UK and ROI profit forecast by c£1m but offsetting this by higher losses in Germany.”

Starbucks UK considers change to PR brief: The magazine PR Week has reported that Starbucks is pitching out its UK consumer brief after five years with the agency Edelman. It is understood that Edelman, which handles much of Starbucks’ communications worldwide, will be involved in the pitch process. Starbucks retains RLM Finsbury, which it brought in to help the company deal with the furore over its UK tax payments, for corporate work. A Starbucks spokesman told PR Week: “Edelman continues as Starbucks’ preferred agency worldwide but we are always considering options that can help us most effectively communicate our ambitions and purpose. We have no specific news to share at this time.”

Brasserie Blanc roll outs breast-feeding offer to 20 sites: Brasserie Blanc has rolled out its “free cup of tea” offer for breast-feeding mums, pioneered at the Brasserie Blanc restaurant in Cheltenham, where it caused a stir on social media, to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week (1 and 7 August). From 10am to 11.30am, new mums will receive a complimentary tea or coffee. The company stressed that new mothers “are welcomed with open arms throughout the day”, and added that “so toddlers do not miss out, they can sit alongside mum and enjoy their own babychino”. A spokesman said: “Brasserie Blanc has always welcomed tiny tots and will continue to do so following this week. When you dine your little ones can enjoy a complimentary carrot purée, satisfy their tummies with a dedicated kids’ menu or eat pint-sized portions of the à la carte dishes.”

McDonald’s UK aims to show the company’s social conscience with new advert: McDonald’s UK’s latest advertisement seeks to move the focus to its own charitable activities and social conscience. Created by the Leo Burnett agency, the ad, with the tagline “Here’s to What Matters”, focuses on the Ronald McDonald House Charities and “the things that matter”, such as a sick child being able to hear the reassuring sound of Dad’s voice when in hospital. Alistair Macrow, chief marketing officer at McDonald’s UK, said: “Here’s to What Matters marks a significant step change – not in what we do, but in how we talk about what we do. Our customers don’t always think about why we do things … like giving out children’s books in Happy Meals or sourcing our ingredients from British and Irish farmers. So we’re going to bring together all these individual actions into a joined-up campaign to help people understand the bigger picture; what McDonald’s is all about and show the difference that we make to people’s lives. By sharing our stories through multiple channels and with fresh and exciting creative and a purposeful and unifying theme, we hope to surprise and reassure the people who matter most to us, from our customers and employees, to the farmers who supply quality ingredients for our menu.”

ASA dismisses Greene King Old Speckled Hen puppet complaint: The Advertising Standards Authority has dismissed a complaint against Greene King for its use of puppets in a TV ad for its Old Speckled Hen beer brand. Although “Henry the Fox” had been the voice of the beer brand since 1994, the complaint challenged whether the ad was irresponsible for featuring a fox puppet and a man in a white rabbit costume, because these characters might appeal to children. Rejecting the allegations, ASA agreed with Greene King Brewing that the commercial’s “intelligent, highbrow humour and dry wit” was clearly intended to engage adult audiences only. “The ASA acknowledged that talking puppets were often used in programmes and films that were targeted towards children,” the ruling said. “However, we considered that, in this instance, the fox character’s behaviour, dress and appearance were aimed towards adults. We noted that the voice of the fox clearly sounded like an older man, and that the character’s language and deadpan delivery were unlikely to appeal to children.”

Jamie Oliver’s Hong Kong site opens: The Jamie’s Italian restaurant in Hong Kong opened yesterday in a partnership with Big Cat Group, which has acquired the rights to develop and operate the chain in China. Oliver told Bloomberg TV that the main obstacle to overseas expansion was finding the right partners. “We choose them very, very carefully and we want them to have the right spirit, because we over-deliver in a lot of areas that are quite expensive, whether it’s food and produce, sourcing, ethics and staff as well,” he said. “We like to treat our staff as well as our ingredients.” The Hong Kong opening comes after openings in Australia, Dubai, Ireland and Russia, with Canada, India and Sweden coming up. “We never presumed we’d go international,” Oliver told Bloomberg TV. “My instinct was that it would do well, because for me Jamie’s Italian was about, ‘How do we reinvent middle-market dining? How do we make it beautiful and sexy? How do we train people and employ well and create incredible fresh things on site every single day?’ And that was always a challenge.”

Ping-pong and pizza brand set to open in Nottingham: A new “ping-pong and pizza” concept, Das Kino, is due to open in Nottingham in September. Work is under way to transform what was once the Old Vic on Fletcher Gate into a new space selling premium cocktails, and handmade pizza and offering ping-pong and live music. The team behind Das Kino claim it draws influences from “iconic German cinema”, and the venue will have reclaimed wood flooring sourced from a local church, bespoke industrial lighting, cinema seating and “classic” pop art. It will cover 3,000 sq ft and will have five ping-pong tables and two large bars. Adam Sumner, general manager at Das Kino said: “Das Kino has been created by a group of local independent operators keen to offer Nottingham something different. The food on offer will be created on site and if you’re having a few drinks with friends in the early hours and you get peckish, you’ll still be able to grab a slice of pizza with us. We’ve even got an old 1950s photo booth, if you need help remembering what happened the day after.”

Marston’s committed to Leek scheme despite mass objections: Marston’s has reaffirmed its commitment to opening a new-build pub restaurant in Leek, Staffordshire despite the plans being withdrawn. The company wants to create 50 jobs by opening a pub and restaurant on the Churnet Works site, off Macclesfield Road, Leek. But Staffordshire Moorlands Council’s planning committee deferred making a decision at a meeting last week after mass objections. Now Marston’s has revealed it is still pressing ahead with the scheme despite the setback. A spokesman said: “Following a full recommendation for approval, the local authority has deferred the application to a later committee hearing yet to be confirmed. We are keen to point out that we are still very much committed to the proposal that will serve the local community, generating new jobs and investment.” More than 1,000 people have signed a petition against the development, amid concerns that it would affect pubs already in the town.

Whitbread targets Gulf region for 30 Premier Inn openings: Whitbread’s economy hotel brand Premier Inn has revealed plans to open 30 properties in the Gulf region by 2020 as it looks to fill a gap in a market dominated by luxury accommodation. Future openings include the 372-room Premier Inn Ibn Battuta Mall, the 200-room Premier Inn Al Maktoum International Airport, the 215-room Premier Inn Dubai Healthcare City, and the 300-room Premier Inn Al Jadaf, all in Dubai, Hotelnewsnow.com reported. It quoted Darroch Crawford, managing director of Premier Inn MEA, as saying the company was also working on “several other projects” in Dubai that are yet to be confirmed. The Premier Inn brand in the region, which is developed via a strategic partnership between the Emirates Group and Whitbread, is one of a number of budget hotel companies looking to expand in Dubai which has set itself a target of attracting 20 million visitors by 2020, seven million more than 2013. Crawford told the website: “There is still a tendency by investors in the region to develop luxury hotels, oblivious to the returns available from the economy sector in particular. There is no doubt that Dubai could sustain many more value-for-money hotels.”

1,500 take part in Punch Taverns best-in-class workshops: Almost 1,500 Punch Taverns licensees and their staff have benefited from the recent re-launch of the company’s free programme of “Best-in-Class” workshops. The intensive short courses claim to offer some of the best targeted training in the industry, focusing on topics such as social and digital media, service and sales, marketing and merchandising, finance, team leadership, food and pub accommodation. The aim is to equip licensees with advanced business skills to give them a strong commercial advantage in the pub marketplace. The workshops are led by experienced in-house trainers and form part of the company’s comprehensive training offer, which provides continuing professional development for experienced licensees and their staff, as well as courses for newly recruited Partners. Punch licensees can check the schedule and sign up when placing their drinks order, either by phone, or online using the Punch Buying Club website. The training is delivered regionally to limit travel time and costs. The workshops can also focus firmly on the pub sector and on the types of pub in the Punch Taverns portfolio, using first-hand industry research and real-life examples of best practice. The trainers are able to offer individual solutions, which can be explored further after the course is over. Licensees can also pass on their learning to their staff, using the company’s training materials. Nine out of ten surveyed Punch Taverns Partners rating training as “important”.

Wadworth sells pub to canal trust: The Wilts and Berks Canal Trust has bought a closed pub, The Peterborough Arms at Dauntsey Lock, Chippenham, from Wadworth Brewery of Devizes and plans to reopen it as soon as possible, with a cafe and museum. The canal-side pub was closed by the brewery in April 2013 and the trust quickly opened discussions to buy it. The sale has gone through thanks to loans from the trust’s supporters. It hopes to expand the pub and turn the site into a canal centre which will accommodate a cafe and a museum as well. Chris Coyle, acting chairman of the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust, said: “The trust is very excited to have been able to buy the Peterborough Arms. We know that our plans are ambitious, but we believe we can make this into a tourist destination. We are also very keen for this to be a centre for the surrounding community.”

Coffee Republic unveils next two international franchised sites: Coffee Republic has opened its latest international franchise in Lanzarote Airport in the Canary Isles, which handles some 2.2 million passengers a year. The franchise is being operated by the Eat Out Group, based in Barcelona, which owns or manages hundreds of food and beverage outlets in Spain. The next Coffee Republic international franchise site is scheduled for Vilnius International Airport, Lithuania, in early September, operated by another new international franchise partner.

New pub theatre launched in Cardiff: A new pub theatre has been launched in Cardiff, which its founders claim is the first venue of its kind in Wales. The Other Room aims to emulate the success of London pub theatres such as the Gate in Notting Hill and the Finborough Arms in Earl’s Court. It is based above Porter’s bar, in the city centre, and has been founded by artistic director Kate Wasserberg and executive director Elizabeth Day. The Other Room will produce work with a heavy emphasis on Welsh and Wales-based artists, as well as modern plays from 1950 onwards. Wasserberg told The Stage: “It was one of those ideas that was actually so clear to me that I couldn’t believe no one had already thought of it. For me, it is the most natural thing in the world that emerging artists come up through these small spaces.”

Caffe Nero human resources director joins Bright Horizons: Caffe Nero’s human resources director, Paul Kennedy, has stepped down to join the child-care provider Bright Horizons UK in the same role. Kennedy spent three years at Caffe Nero as group HR director and has more than 30 years’ experience in HR.

Itsu to open second site outside London in September: Itsu, the Asian-inspired fast food shop and restaurant chain, will open its second site outside London, in central Brighton, in September. It plans to open further regional sites next year. Itsu Brighton will feature a number of “firsts”, including a full range of frozen yogurt, a juice bar and a “live action tea station”. Julian Metcalfe, Itsu’s founder, said: “We’re thrilled to have a presence in Brighton, which is known to be a great trend leader in arts, culture and lifestyle, making it a strong fit with our brand. There’s also a huge amount of interest in healthy living and eating in Brighton but there’s nothing like Itsu available in the city. Our aim is to genuinely revolutionise the way Brighton eats.” The 112-seat Itsu Brighton shop is opposite the Clocktower on the corner of West Street and North Road.

Oriel Securities issues buy note on Enterprise Inns: Oriel Securities has reiterated its buy rating on shares of Enterprise Inns in a research report to investors. Enterprise Inns shares have a one-year low of 114.7p and a one-year high of 171.4p. The stock’s 50-day moving average is 127.7p and its 200-day moving average is 142.3p. Last week analysts at Numis Securities reiterated a hold rating on Enterprise shares in a research not. They now have a 125p price target on the stock. Analysts at Deutsche Bank reiterated a buy rating on the company’s shares in a research note in June. They now have a 205p price target on the stock. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of ‘Hold’ and a consensus price target of 156.33p.

Cheshire Cat Pubs and Bars reports success of Festival of Gin: Cheshire Cat Pubs and Bars, the north west of England multiple operator led by Tim Bird and Mary McLaughlin, has reported a successful Festival of Gin at its Cholmondeley Arms, near Whitchurch, Cheshire, with the arrival of its 200th gin. Bird and McLaughlin opened the pub in 2011 with 40 gins and sought to establish a reputation for stocking some of the best and most unusual gins in the country. The 200th gin was from Burleigh’s Gin, which has been described as the UK’s number one artisan gin brand. It was welcomed by hundreds of guests and locals celebrating the end of the pub’s Gin Fest, which featured gin tastings, a collection of sports and vintage cars, live music and a pop-up gin bar in the pub’s garden. Bird said: “It was a fantastic festival of gin at the weekend and we’re pleased how the Cholmondeley Arms has developed a great reputation for its record-breaking collection of gins, as well as its warm welcome. Staff at the Cholmondeley Arms continue to challenge brand owners and customers to ‘bring a gin to the inn’ to see if they have it in stock.”

BrewDog invites fans to write its beer bottle copy: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog, which saw a mixed reception for its new label designs, has invited its fans to write the copy for its beer bottles. On its blog it stated: “We were considering ways to get more involvement from the dedicated, committed craft beer community, and the way we’d like to do this is to invite you to send us the words you feel best reflect your favourite BrewDog beer. We will then select the best submissions (the ones that really ring true and best describe our beers) and print these on our bottles for a limited period. We believe this will give people who pick up a bottle of Libertine Black Ale in a bottle shop a real insight into what Josie from St Ives thinks it tastes like. Or perhaps it’ll help someone in a shop understand what the first sip of Punk IPA is like, as told by Andrew, a Twitter follower from Derby. This will be a project that we’ll look to run annually to keep it fresh, as we rotate through different label texts. Selected contributors whose copy is selected for inclusion will have their name credited on all labels printed with their words, receive a case of the beer with their copy on the label, £50 beer bucks to spend in our bars and bottle shops and a goody bag.”

Wendy’s trials customised burgers: Wendy’s, the American burger chain, is testing customised burgers with a new operations process in two restaurants in Columbus Ohio. The chain, which has more than 6,500 outlets, is offering customers a five-step process. According to a picture of the brand’s in-store point-of-purchase material shared on Twitter by QSR Magazine, guests choose a protein — either one to three burger patties or a home-style, spicy or grilled chicken patty — then a type of bun, type of cheese, and any sauces or toppings.

Darden chief executive to step down: The chief executive of the American conglomerate Darden Restaurants, Clarence Otis, who came under fire from activist investors for his turnaround strategy, plans to step down as chairman and chief executive by the end of the year. Otis will continue serving as chief executive until a successor is appointed, or 31 December, whichever comes first, the company said in a statement. Charles Ledsinger, currently Darden’s independent lead director, is becoming chairman of the board, splitting up the two jobs that Otis had held. Investors applauded the move, sending the stock up as much as 6% Darden drew the ire of its investor Starboard Value in December when it proposed selling or spinning off Red Lobster, its seafood chain, which has suffered from declining sales. Starboard sought for shareholders to vote on the idea, only to see Darden make a deal with Golden Gate Capital this year to sell Red Lobster. In May, Starboard began a proxy battle to take over the board, seeking to block the $2.1bn Red Lobster sale.

Laura Ashley opens second hotel: Laura Ashley has opened its second luxury hotel, this time located in Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria. The Victorian Belsfield Hotel has undergone a £3.5m refurbishment under a licensing agreement that has seen Laura Ashley apply an interior design and branding overhaul. The property is owned by Corus Hotels and is called Laura Ashley The Belsfield Lake District. Laura Ashley’s fabrics, furniture and fittings are used in each of the 62 rooms and suites, which start from £150 a night for a double room, including breakfast for two. Local Cumbrian produce features extensively on the menu, which includes dishes such as wood pigeon with celeriac puree and sea bass with samphire, clams and a toasted cucumber veloute.

SSP America launches diner concept at JFK airport: The transport hub foodservice specialist SSP has opened a 1930s-style New York diner at JFK International airport in New York. The only diner at any of New York City’s airports, the Central Diner is the only pre-security sit-down dining option at the terminal. It has a traditional service counter surrounded by banquette, booth and patio seating. A take-out window is also available. Les Cappetta, SSP America’s chief executive, said: “SSP America is proud to bring an innovative brand concept to JFK, one of the most important gateways to the world.”

Horizons – eating out risen by 4% this summer: Consumers are eating out more often this summer, than they did this time last year, with 71% of respondents to a new Horizons’ survey saying they had eaten out in the past two weeks, a clear sign that confidence is returning to the sector, the company said. The Eating Out-Look survey, conducted online by YouGov among 2,366 respondents, reveals that convenience (27%) and conviviality (26%) are the most frequently cited reasons for eating out among those who have done so, but increasingly consumers report that they opt for meals out or takeaways because they do not want to cook themselves (25%), are hungry (20%) or because meals out represent good value for money (17%). However, while the percentage of survey respondents eating out in the previous two weeks has risen from 67% in June 2013 to 71% in July 2014, average spend has dropped year-on-year from £13.30 to £12.72. Horizons’ director of services, Nicola Knight, said: “Although frequency of eating out is still below pre-recession levels, the increase in penetration and frequency of eating out indicates that the sector is no longer in decline. The fact average spend has dropped slightly suggests that there is a greater willingness among consumers to intersperse special occasion meals with more everyday purchases.” Respondents to the survey reported that over the previous two weeks they had eaten out an average of 2.21 times, up from last year’s average frequency of 1.77 times. While pub restaurants continue to take a healthy share of the market, when respondents were asked where they last ate out, takeaway and home delivered food proved more popular at 19% (up from 16%) suggesting that the rise in eating out is consumers “topping up” with takeaway or delivered food between more formal meal occasions. According to the survey, the increase in eating out is driven by those on higher incomes (ABC1s), at 78%, up from 73% in 2013), and is seen across the nation with the exception of the Midlands, at 65% in 2014, down from 69% in 2013). While the majority of those dining out do so in the evening (63%), 47% have lunch out and an increasing number eat breakfast out of the home (12%) compared with this time last year (10%). Some 12% of respondents to the survey that eat out said they looked for vegetarian options when choosing where they eat out or what they eat, with 12% saying calorie information affects where and what they choose to eat and 9% looking for low-fat options. Over half of diners (53%) said that it was important for them to know the origin of the main ingredients in a dish they were going to eat. Women were more likely to mention at least one health or lifestyle issue affecting their choice of eating out venue (37%), with only 25% of men having the same concerns. Younger age groups (18-24 and 25-34) are most likely to eat out at 78% and 79%, with those aged over 55 eating out less frequently, but spending the most when they do (£13.78), and those aged 18-24 spending the least (£10.40). When choosing somewhere to eat out, the quality of food was the most frequently cited factor among respondents, (76%), with price second (65%) and cleanliness third (60%). Of the respondents who had not eaten out in the past two weeks (27%), expense was the most commonly cited barrier, with quality and healthiness also having an influence.

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