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Wed 12th Feb 2020 - Solo eating out grows twice as fast as all other visits in 2019
Solo eating out grows twice as fast as all other visits in 2019: Solo eating-out grew twice as fast as all other visits in 2019, according to insights firm The NPD Group. There were 4.4 billion solo eating-out visits – including foodservice delivery – in Britain in 2019, accounting for more than 38% of the 11.57 billion visits in the foodservice market. Solo eating visits were up 6.8% in the year versus 2.9% in 2018. Solo eaters have increased their average spend on food and beverage away from home by 16% in the five years to the end of 2019, versus an increase of 11% for the overall eat-out market. Breakfast is where solo eating is most common, with visits having grown by almost 15% in the five years to the end of 2019. The quick-service “ethnic” channel – including pan-Asian, Indian and Chinese food as well as kebab outlets – has grown solo-eater visits the most in the past five years, up 46% more than the total market. Pizza and Italian is also appealing to lone eaters, with 34% more solo visits. Quick-service burger outlets, pubs and full-service restaurants have seen solo-eater visits grow by 30%, 28% and 10% respectively over the past five years. Solo eating while at work is 80% more likely than average. The research showed solo eaters like to complete their orders as quickly and conveniently as possible – compared with all eat-out visits, these visits are 59% more likely to involve an order made via a self-ordering kiosk. Solo eaters tend to eat away from the place they purchased their food. Eight in ten (81%) of visits are off-premise. Dominic Allport, insights director (foodservice), The NPD Group, said: “The shrinking lunch break means workers want efficiency, and many foodservice outlets are making ordering and collecting food speedy and smooth. Ordering via click and collect, delivery and self-service kiosks are making solo eating ‘al-desko’ easier than ever. But it’s not just workers at lunchtime that are increasingly eating and drinking alone, snacking, breakfast and coffee breaks taken solo are on the rise too across the wider population. All sorts of restaurants should respond to this trend to take a slice of this growing market. One obvious improvement is to create a more inviting interior – with counter-style seating to make eating alone on the premises less daunting. Modern pan-Asian outlets such as YO! and Wasabi are great examples of this. Zoning is another effective design strategy, where small tables or sofas are clustered together, so solo diners don’t feel awkward when surrounded by larger groups. And if lone diners want to linger to do some work, then friendly staff, pull-out desks, power sockets and table ordering via an app can all help to maximise additional spend.”


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