London accounted for 20.2% of the £51 billion foodservice industry in Britain for the year ending June 2015, new research shows.
The figures, revealed by The NPD Group, mean that the London foodservice market alone is now worth more than £10 billion a year.
London also delivered 17.3% of traffic – up +6.3% over the previous year. This compares to foodservice traffic figures for Great Britain, which dropped by -0.3%.
The NPD Group says part of the reason for the capital’s success is that London’s consumers have a high propensity to spend. More than seven out of 10 eat out visits (73.6%) in London are made by consumers in the higher social/economic groups (A/B/C1) compared to six out of 10 (61.6%) in Britain generally.
In London, a visit to a foodservice outlet is 21% more likely to be made by people in full-time employment and 30% less likely to be made by people in part-time employment.
Londoners are bigger spenders in the sector; the average bill per consumer in London is £5.38 versus £4.62 for Britain as a whole.
Nearly one in three eat out visits (28.2%) in London are made by consumers in the 25 to 34 age range, a much higher figure than the 20% for Britain overall.
“London is experiencing a foodservice boom compared to the rest of Britain,” said Muriel Illig, account manager at the NPD Group. “Remove London’s robust contribution and Britain’s foodservice industry would register a flat performance over the year to end of June 2015.”
Consumers in London choose outlets in different ways to people in the rest of Britain, according to the study. A choice based on ‘location’ or ‘sheer habit’ is less likely in the capital. However, a choice motivated by a requirement for a ‘light and healthy meal’ is 52% more important in the capital than elsewhere in Britain.
Consumers in London are 49% more likely to be motivated by recommendations, 34% more likely to be looking for ‘something new and different’ and 24% more inclined to satisfy a ‘special taste or craving’.
Londoners also love their fast food, according to NPD. The top five dishes that are particularly eaten in the capital – compared to the rest of the country – are: chicken, pizza, burgers, desserts and ethnic dishes.
Muriel added: “London is doing well but it is still a very competitive foodservice market. New and small restaurant chains are flourishing across the capital, and there is more and more street food in markets. This has really increased consumer choice and Londoners have become very demanding. Anybody operating any foodservice outlet in the capital needs to continually inject excitement and innovation into their offering – while ensuring they win plenty of praise on review websites through excellent service.”