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Restaurant discounts of limited appeal

Published:  07 September, 2010

The latest research from market analyst Horizons shows that restaurants could be wasting their time and money issuing discount vouchers.

QuickBite findings shows the majority of consumers (55%) don't base their decision to eat out on the availability of a money-off deal, while only 17% of consumers even use discount offers or vouchers.

Two-for-one offers are the most common eating out vouchers used by diners, with money-off coupons and 'meal deals' ranking second. Women (19%) are more likely to use discount vouchers than men (12%) with those under 35 the most common age group to use them.

The research also shows that 25% of diners who use discount deals say they would have eaten elsewhere had the deal not been available, while 20% would have stayed at home.

Horizons development executive, Paul Backman, said: "We have questioned the value of discount vouchers before and this research vindicates our belief. Vouchers are untargeted in that while they persuade a percentage of consumers to dine somewhere they are also being used by more loyal customers who would dine in that restaurant anyway and don't need to be persuaded with money-off vouchers."

He added that deals in the eating out sector have become much more sophisticated over the past 18 months, but operators still need to work harder at attracting new customers, rather than purely rewarding existing ones.

The value of the eating out market has increased 2.6% year-on-year from £31.4bn to £32.2bn while the total number of meals eaten out has risen by 3.2% from 2.84 billion to 2.93 billion to June 2010. However, while consumers are spending more per head when they do eat out - up 14.3% to £11.53 - they are eating out less often than previously, a year-on-year fall from 1.6 times to 1.4 times a week.