What are the main factors influencing where consumers eat?

Bookatable surveyed 2,000 people in the UK to see how important issues like sustainability, ethics and food waste are when dining out, as well as the types of food that are enticing.

21 October 2019
fermentedfood wastejapaneseprovenancerestaurantsstatisticssustainability
image credit: Getty Images

  • Diners will choose a restaurant that provides sustainable food (57%), higher welfare meat and animal products (56%) and clear food provenance (50%) over one that doesn’t.
  • 57% would rather visit a restaurant that reduces food waste.
  • 64% of respondents also said they have tried or would like to try food with an ethical certification.
  • Half of respondents said they were more likely to visit a restaurant with interesting food origins, although favourite cuisines were still British, American, Chinese, Italian and Indian.
  • Many of those surveyed weren’t feeling adventurous. 60% admitted they weren’t likely to experiment with probiotic or fermented food any time soon, while 44% said they would not like to try Japanese delicacies like ramen or matcha.
  • Almost of third said they’d be more likely to visit an eatery that had vegetarian food on the menu, but just 23% said the same about a restaurant with vegan options.
  • What makes a great dining experience? There were a few standouts for respondents, including exceptional cleanliness (72%), special deals (48%), happy staff (62%) and a quiet and relaxed environment (72%).
  • However, almost one in three under 24s said they preferred more lively eateries.
  • Being served quickly (54%) and not having to wait long for food (53%) also made for a good experience.  Yet digging into age groups, just four in ten under 24s said they want their food served quickly, while almost seven in ten of over of 65s said they felt the less time they had to wait the better.
  • 47% of people visit Trip Advisor and 39% read reviews in the media and on social media to help them chose a restaurant they’ve never been to before. 
  • However, it’s family and friends that have the most influence over us, with eight in ten revealing it is they trust their recommendations the most.


“Running a restaurant is a competitive business and demand is driven by diners who not only expect a fast and efficient service, but also make decisions based on their personal values,” said Michel Cassius, Bookatable’s CEO. “That is why it’s not surprising to see that more than half of diners surveyed stated food provenance, ethical dining and sustainable food options to be top of the list when it comes to choosing and deciding where to eat out. Michelin has recognised this by launching its first Sustainability award in the UK & Ireland.”

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