Restaurants see spending decline in 2023 as consumers cut back

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Restaurants see 6.7% spending decline in 2023 as consumers cut back

Related tags Barclays Restaurant Spending data

Restaurants saw a spending decline of 6.7% in 2023, according to data from Barclays, as Brits spent less on eating out to offset rising household bills.

Despite this, hospitality and leisure spending grew by 9.5% over the year, with transaction growth of 4.7%. And while spending in restaurants fell, eating and drinking spending still grew by 6.8%.

Bars, pubs and clubs saw spending rise by 5.9% over the course of the year, while takeaways and fast food was up by 8.1%.

Additionally, ‘other food and drink’ spend grew by 9.5%.

The strong performance of pubs compared to restaurants suggests that while out socialising Brits were opting for more affordable pub food instead of formal restaurant meals.

Back in October, Barclays reported that almost half (47%) of consumers were planning to cut down on discretionary spending so they could afford their energy bills throughout the autumn and winter, with eating out at restaurants (56%) one of the most cited areas for cutbacks.

“Brits prioritised memorable experiences and shared moments with loved ones this year, boosting pubs, travel and entertainment,” says Esme Harwood, director at Barclays.

“Many were keen to make up for lost opportunities during the pandemic by booking holidays, treating themselves to concert tickets, and enjoying nights out with friends.”

In total, Barclays reports that consumer card spending increased just 4.1% year-on-year in 2023 – lower than the growth seen in 2022 (10.6%).

“Although 2024 will be a tough year for the economy as a whole, the New Year is a time to look for the positives,” says Jack Meaning, Chief UK Economist at Barclays.

“We expect to see the Bank of England start easing interest rates from the middle of the year, and in fact, we’re already seeing mortgage rates come down in anticipation.

“This is as the speed of price rises slows, which should continue to provide at least some boost to the spending power of people who have been squeezed through the cost-of-living crisis.

“2024 will be a year of transition, from headwinds to tailwinds, but come next December we should be able to toast the New Year with more festive spirit.”

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