Location, Location, Location: Dining Habits of UK Regions Revealed by New Survey

Quality, good service and variety have been revealed as the top three criteria for British diners when it comes to choosing a restaurant. The survey, conducted by the UK’s leading software and data provider for the hospitality industry Fourth, took an in-depth look into the nation’s dining habits with interesting results, unearthing information across a number of areas, including diners’ biggest bugbears, tipping and what consumers really look for when choosing a restaurant.

Londoners have been revealed as the most generous diners, leaving a 10.57% tip on average, with the data showing they are also the most likely to dine out during the week, eating at restaurants on average 2.4 times a week.

According to the data, diners across the south of the country are usually more generous, tipping an average of 9.05% of the bill compared to their northern counterparts, who tip an average of 8.34%.

However, diners from Northern Ireland are least likely to leave a generous tip, offering on average just 6.86% of the total bill.

When determining tips, diners across the UK chose a friendly demeanour and attentiveness as the most important factors behind deciding how much to leave at the end of a meal.

Diners’ frustrations

Research into diners’ frustrations when eating out showed that price is the most common source of irritation at restaurants. London diners are most likely to put up with rude service, with only 14% of people surveyed highlighting it as an annoyance when dining out, whilst 30% of diners from the South East thought the contrary and noted rude service as a main frustration.

Diners from the Midlands and Wales are the least confident in the kitchen, with people in these locations more likely than any other to go for dinner at a restaurant because they don’t like cooking or believe that eating out tastes better than what they can prepare at home.

The survey showed that food quality is a focus for UK consumers, with 78% of diners listing it as the most important factor driving their dining out choices.

For Londoners, convenience is key, with data showing that ease of getting a table and instant booking via online platforms are two of the most important factors when choosing a restaurant, more so than in other UK regions.

Figures showed that diners from the North East are the most cost savvy, with 45% picking value for money and highlighting offers and discounts as their main attraction when deciding where to eat.

The research also analysed who diners preferred eating with when they go out. Across the board, the findings highlight that as a restaurant-going public, Brits would rather dine with their pet than their colleagues.

Cultural nuances

Catherine Marshall, Communications Director at Fourth, said: “While it’s clear that the UK’s dining scene continues to prove popular with consumers because of its vibrancy, quality and choice, our survey unearths some of the habits, idiosyncrasies and frustrations experienced by diners across the country.

“What it demonstrates is that operators with estates across the UK need to be pragmatic to the cultural nuances and demands of each region. Differing approaches to tipping is indicative of the convoluted and often confusing nature of this practice, both in how much to leave staff and also how to split up tips. With the Government proposing new tipping legislation in the Queen’s Speech, a new industry body for forming very recently, and several consumer-facing tech businesses innovating in the area, we look forward to engaging and supporting operators as the industry looks to identify a sector-wide approach.”