Is Britain’s Dine-out Culture Affecting how Much we’re Saving?

What are your plans for this evening? The weekend perhaps? Our changing habits mean there’s a high probability that your plans will include dining out — whether that’s grabbing a bite to eat on the move or enjoying a restaurant visit with friends.

According to figures from 2016, 36% of Brits dine out or buy takeaway food once or twice a week. A further 21% would treat themselves once a fortnight, while 19% ate out every month.

This is a far cry to pre-2000s attitudes, when takeaways were rare and restaurant visits were treated as a special event. Due to the falling cost of eating out, improving salaries and the convenience offered by take-out food, we have incorporated them more casually into our lifestyles — but at what cost?

Britain’s love of dining out

A survey by has found that over the course of our lifetimes, we’ll spend a huge £288,000 on restaurant meals. On average, this works out at £44 per week on dining out alone. However, for 18-29 year-olds, this figure doubles to a weekly spend of £88!

With a huge total spend on eating out, just where are Brits spending it? The survey found that the pub is our preferred dining destination. Historically, pubs were exclusively for drinking, with the exception of inns that served meals to their guests.

However, pubs underwent a major transition following the introduction of the smoking ban, with many moving away from being primarily drinking establishments to providing food to attract a new customer base — and it seems to have worked!

In second place were Chinese restaurants, while Indian food outlets follow in third.

Yet regardless of the type of food a restaurant serves, it’s clear our love of dining out is strengthening the UK’s restaurant trade. Between 2012 and 2016, a report by the Local Data Company showed that 743 new restaurants opened on average each year. However, in 2017, this figure reached a new peak, with 1,333 new restaurants opening.

In 2017, it was predicted in MCA’s UK Market Restaurant report that the UK’s restaurant market would be valued at £20 billion — clearly highlighting how our evolving relationships with restaurants are strengthening the economy.

While our passion for dining out is leaving the restaurant market strong, is it causing our bank balances to suffer — and could this have an impact on how much we’re able to contribute to our retirement fund?

According to the Tackling The Savings Gap Consumer Savings and Debt Data Q3 2017 report created by True Potential Investor, the average Brit spends £4.70 per day on purchases they later regret. Over the course of a month, this totals £143. So what are we spending it on?

Of all of the purchases we make, the personal pension provider found that food purchases were those that we regretted most — with 25% of respondents saying so. Perhaps then this ties in to how dining out has become the norm — are we visiting restaurants when we’re not hungry simply because we have become accustomed to eating out rather than at home?

While £4.70 may not seem like a lot, it could have a huge impact on how comfortable we’re able to live in retirement. According to True Potential Investor’s research, investing £4.70 per day into a pension between 30 and 65 years old could return a retirement fund of £320,000. This amount could fund 13 years of retirement, based on needing £23,000 annually to live comfortably.

And this amount could grow even larger once basic rate pension tax relief is added — which could see it grow to £399,000. With the huge opportunity offered by investments, is it worth sacrificing a few restaurant trips to bolster our pension pots?


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