More people are dining out – but are they happy?

When it comes to dining out, many of us see it as a rite of passage rather than the luxury or special treat it once was.

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According to an article in the Standard, Londoners alone dine out almost four times a week; however, while there has been a significant increase in the number of people who dine out over the last two decades, research published by the University of Manchester suggests that on the whole diners are less satisfied with the experience than they once were.

The stats

The study used to measure consumer satisfaction on this topic sampled 2,100 participants and compared their ratings on eating out in 1995 and again in 2015. Satisfaction for value for money dropped from 69 per cent to 56 per cent – a 13 per cent drop – while satisfaction for the food itself dropped from 81 per cent to 72 per cent.

Other dining elements

It is not just the key elements such as food and money that have been downgraded in the eyes of diners over the past few decades; in addition, there has been a notable decrease in satisfaction for restaurant decor, service, and indeed the whole social experience.

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Understanding the trend

It is hard to say what has caused these significant drops in satisfaction for diners. Have the standards of restaurants, cafes and eateries really gone so rapidly downhill, or is it the social attitude of the diners themselves that is responsible? If dining out really is so unpalatable, why has there been an increase in the number of people still opting to eat out rather than choosing to cook at home?

Modern Commercial Catering Equipment at 247catering and other specialists means that complex meals can be mass produced and cooked to a high standard relatively quickly. In the good old days, was the preparation of more standard, home-cooked food a longer process that allowed more social interaction? Perhaps the rise of commercial catering equipment and other technological advances have distracted consumers from socialising with each other in such a traditional setting, or perhaps they are just expecting more in a world of instant gratification?

The catering industry should take note of these findings and continue to try to up its game when it comes to pleasing its customers.

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