by Christina Golding
EATING out in Britain has become dominated by fast food, which pulls in more money than any other sector, according to a major annual survey.
Ten years ago, restaurants took the largest slice of the consumer eating-out market. In 1987 £3.5b was spent in restaurants compared to £3b on fast food. But rapid expansion by large fast-food chains over the past decade has seen a shift in balance, with £6.1b spent on fast food last year compared with £4.9b in restaurants.
The annual British Life-styles survey by research firm Mintel found that eating out is one of the fastest-growing leisure areas. Other growth areas included health clubs and cinemas. Holidays were also a top priority for savings. Spending on holidays and entertainment increased by 11% in real terms over the past 10 years.
l Pub catering is not far behind the fast-food sector. Mintel reveals that around £5.3b was spent on pub food compared with £2.9b 10 years ago.
If previous predictions by research firm Foodservice Intelligence prove correct, the pub industry could overtake fast food before the end of the next decade.
While fast-food chains boast further expansion, Foodservice Intelligence predicts that over the next five years up to 20,000 pubs will turn to food to increase profits (Caterer, 30 October 1997, page 8).