Shopping Centre

Dining drives centre growth

Published:  24 April, 2014

New style restaurants exploit the nationís change in eating habits, finds BCSC research

Britain has become a "nation of grazers" who are eating out more than ever and more regularly throughout the day, providing restaurants, coffee shops and sandwich outlets with recession-proof trade, according to the BCSC research.

The research highlights the lack of consistency in UK meal times where, at no point during the day, are as many as 20 per cent of Britons eating a meal. This compares with the Spanish where around 40 per cent of people were found to be eating at 2.50pm and 30 per cent at 9.30pm.

This daily spread and merging of breakfast, lunch and dinner in the UK provides restaurant owners with repeat commercial opportunities to benefit from significant changes in Britain's eating habits.

The new report, 'Food and beverage: a solution for shopping centres?', which was produced by BCSC in partnership with Savills and Aspect Market Research, puts London at the top of the irregular eating league tables claiming the crown as Britain's 'King of Grazers'.

Millions of people are commuting into the capital each day compared with the rest of the UK with journeys often staggered leading to extended and varied eating times. This, coupled with the sheer volume of different types of food outlet, means that London retains its attractiveness to new dining concepts.

The research also shows that younger adults (18 to 34) eat out most frequently, with 75 per cent having eaten out in the past two weeks. The average for adults of all ages is lower at around 67 per cent. The average spend per meal has also increased by one pound over the last 12 months, from £12.30 to £13.30.

Shopping centres, and shops themselves, are also undergoing a transformation to a greater emphasis on eating out. Over the last five years, there has been a significant shift from retail usage to restaurants. In 2009, conversion from shops to restaurants was around 700,000 sq ft and two years later, in 2011, this had risen to a massive 3 million sq ft dropping down to 1.7 million sq ft in 2012.