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Dining out more while spending less: the prevailing trend of the summer in 2023

Delectatech. Salir a comer más y gastar menos: la tendencia que ha marcado este verano 2023.

Summer represents one of the most crucial periods for the Food Service and hospitality sector due to a significant increase in tourist and leisure demand, which directly impacts their annual revenues. However, the summer of 2023 brought with it unique challenges, such as inflation, geopolitical tensions in neighboring countries, and fluctuations in tourism, which compelled the industry to implement various strategies to achieve their desired goals.

In order to analyze occupancy rates and average customer spending within the restaurant sector throughout the months of June, July, and August, Delectatech has conducted a study employing its Artificial Intelligence engine and machine learning algorithms, drawing data from an online database of more than 19,000 representative dining establishments across Spain.

The results reveal a significant increase in occupancy rates of up to 39.97% in dining establishments, surpassing the figure recorded in the summer of 2022 by 10.72%, which was 36.10%. In contrast, the average spending per customer stood at €24.21, reflecting a decrease of -2.77% compared to the previous summer, which was €24.90

These data indicate a shift in customer behavior, with diners opting for more frequent, lower-cost meals rather than higher-expense dining experiences. In other words, they have been dining out more frequently but spending less.

Summer 2022 vs. Summer 2023

The records show that 55.43% of the establishments have experienced an increase in both key indicators (occupancy and average spending), a figure higher than in 2022, which was 54.87%. Specifically, 83.92% of the venues saw an increase in occupancy, while 66.03% reported an increase in average spending.

Compared to 2022, the summer of 2023 has exhibited a variety of behaviors among establishments, with some experiencing double-digit increases in their results, while others have seen much more modest growth. However, unlike the average spending, the occupancy rates of establishments in May 2023 remained at similar levels to those in May 2022, before experiencing a significant increase during the summer season, even surpassing the figures from the previous year.

Restaurant Industry performance by region and average price

The highest concentration of establishments that have increased both their occupancy and average spending is located in the northern regions of Spain: La Rioja, Cantabria, and Asturias. On the other hand, regions with the highest density of establishments, such as the Community of Madrid, Catalonia, and Andalusia, along with Extremadura, experienced a decrease in both indicators.

Lower-priced establishments, those charging less than €20 per diner, have emerged as the big winners of the summer, as they had more room to increase both their average spending and occupancy. Conversely, establishments with an average price exceeding €50 had already reached their price limit and were more affected by spending moderation, experiencing a reduction in their average spending compared to the previous summer.

Restaurant Industry performance by business type

In relation to business type (bar, restaurant, cafeteria, and cocktail bar), there has been a noticeable homogeneity in their behavior this summer, with no clear standout. In general, there has been an increase in establishments that have gained both in average spending and occupancy. Although cocktail bars are the majority among those losing both average spending and occupancy, they have managed to improve their performance compared to the summer of 2022.

So, which establishments performed the best and worst?

From a general perspective, the profile of a winning establishment this summer would be a restaurant located in the Catalonia region with a price range of €20 or less, and belonging to organized dining. Conversely, the profile found among the losers would be a restaurant located in the Community of Madrid with a price range between €20-50 and belonging to individual dining.

In summary, the summer of 2023 has been a reminder that the hospitality and Food Service industry is resilient and capable of effectively addressing challenges. Diners chose a 'dine more, spend less' strategy, resulting in increased occupancy in establishments, albeit with a slight decrease in average spending. As the industry continues to adapt to changing customer demands and economic conditions, it becomes evident that flexibility and the ability to innovate will be essential for future success.

If you'd like to explore these findings in greater detail, you can now download the complete 'Summer 2023 Results' report. Simply register for free on our application, Food Radar.

Access Food Radar and download the "Summer 2023 Results" report.