Let’s do lunch
While dinner is the most popular meal to dine out for, one in four say they go out for lunch once a week.
Many restaurants currently have bespoke brunch menus but only 13% of respondents state that they go out for brunch on a weekly basis. This number increases slightly to 15% among those aged 18 to 29.
The research reveals that half of respondents spend an average of €50 to €100 when dining out while 11% spend over €100 each time they eat out. Unsurprisingly weekends are the most popular time to go out for something to eat with 44% saying they like to dine out at the weekend.
When it comes to splitting the bill, it seems we’ve a relaxed attitude to who pays. 42% say they simply take it in turns with their dining companion to pay while 30% say they ‘go Dutch’ and split the bill equally.
However, a key bugbear for those questioned is when dining in a large group, instead of splitting the bill equally their dining companions prefer to pay only for what they ordered. A third of people describe this behaviour as irritating!
Healthy and causal
In line with current food trends, 38% of people questioned say they would like to see more casual dining options in Ireland and one in five would like to see more healthy eateries popping up.
60% of people polled always leave a tip while just over a third (36%) say it depends on the level of service they receive on the day. For 71% the average tip is 10% of the bill. One in five leave an average of 15% based on their bill.
With more and more restaurants now spending additional time on making their dishes look ‘insta-worthy’, it’s no surprise that over one in four (26%) take pictures of their food when dining out.
The research – carried out online among 419 Irish people aged over 18 (86% female) – was carried out as part of Musgrave MarketPlace’s Discover Musgrave MarketPlace event which took place at Medley Restaurant recently.
The event saw key Musgrave MarketPlace suppliers and customers come together and guests on the day included well-known restaurant-owner and ex-rugby international Jamie Heaslip.
Jamie has interests in bars such as Lemon & Duke and The Bridge.
Earlier research undertaken by Musgrave MarketPlace had found that almost half of parents (47%) celebrate their child’s First Holy Communion with a meal out.
The survey of 737 Irish parents into First Communion dining reveals that celebrating at a local restaurant is the most popular way to mark the occasion (41%) followed by a meal out in a local hotel (39%) and pub grub at a local bar (14%).
According to the survey, a third of parents spend up to €300 on First Holy Communion celebrations while a further third spend in excess of €500 dining out. One in five of those polled say they’ll have anywhere between 15 to 20 people join them for the event and 30% say they intend to have more than 30 people join the celebrations!
What’s on the menu?
Healthy and nutritious dining options are a key concern for parents. 12% say they would like to see more venues offer specific healthy meal choices for children on the menu, while over half (54%) say that they want to see restaurants offering half-sized portions of the adult menu.
However there’s still a place for the traditional, it seems.
A third (32%) claim they still want standard children’s menu fare such as nuggets and sausages on the menu when dining out.
The survey also asked parents what the key considerations are when planning a family meal out for a First Communion celebration.
Unsurprisingly price and value are the key decision factors for parents (70%).
Reflecting changing tastes and more awareness around allergies, over a third (39%) say that a menu which caters for specific dietary requirements such as gluten and lactose-free options influences their dining decisions.
Other things which impact parents’ dining choices include calories and nutritional information on the menu, the selection of vegetarian options available and the ability to cater for large groups.
“Communion celebrations remain a key revenue driver for restaurants, hotels and bars around Ireland and it’s clear from our research that parents are spending significantly on these types of occasions,” commented Desi Derby, Marketing Director at Musgrave MarketPlace of the findings, “The research shows that parents are now more aware than ever of what their children are eating and savvy eateries should be looking to cater for the growing trend for healthier options, ‘free from’ dishes, portion control and more nutritional information on menus.”
The company also partnered with dietitian Gillian McConnell to provide its customers with more education around these types of products and healthy menu options they can use in their own businesses.
“The restaurant scene in Ireland is always evolving so it’s important that we stay ahead of the curve, innovate within our own business and continue to anticipate the needs of our customers,” commented Musgrave Wholesale Partners’ Managing Director Noel Keeley.
Over the last two years the company has focused on revamping its branches into state-of-the-art food emporia and investing close to €10m developing the Ballymun, Robinhood and Belfast outlets. It’s currently in the process of transforming its Cork branch which is due for completion this Summer.