Only 16% of Australian diners now spend more than $90 a head on a meal, according to new research, suggesting high-end restaurants should take it down a notch as “cheap and cheerful” becomes the norm.
The research comes from restaurant reservations website Dimmi, which compiled data from more than 300,000 diners and 2,000 restaurants to gain insight into Australian dining habits.
Dimmi has revealed its findings in the Dimmi Australian Dining Index, which shows “what’s really on our minds (and in our stomachs) when it comes to enjoying a meal out”.
The findings come just one week after the venture capital arm of Telstra confirmed it has invested in Dimmi.
While the financial terms of the deal are undisclosed, it’s understood to include a cornerstone shareholding in the business, in partnership with Village Roadshow.
Dimmi founder Stevan Premutico told StartupSmart Dimmi will continue operating as a “small, fast, nimble business”, and the Dimmi Australian Dining Index is an example of that.
The index highlights Australian diners’ changing habits, particularly in relation to cost.
“The grim economic outlook and spate of fine dining restaurant closures has been reflected in a drop in dining out at the high end over the past year,” the index said.
According to the index, only 16% of diners now spend more than $90 a head, compared with 20% a year ago, although they are still spending an average of $60 per person when they eat out.
With regard to cuisine, the index reveals modern Australian and European-style restaurants are the favourites, while South American, Asian and Indian also make an appearance in the top five.
While the quality of the food remains paramount, service and value for money are moving up the ranks. According to Premutico, the results reflect a clear shift in the Australian dining scene.
“We’re definitely seeing a move away from fine dining towards value for money,” Premutico says.
“Around $50 seems to be the new threshold as diners seek out more casual options that offer great service, and good food and wine at a reasonable price.”
Not surprisingly, the index shows Australian diners are also becoming more tech-savvy, with a 67% increase in online bookings.
Diners in WA and the ACT are leading the charge when it comes to booking online, followed closely by South Australia and NSW.
Valentine’s Day attracts the highest number of bookings, according to the index, followed by Christmas.
More than 55% of online bookings are taken when the restaurant is either closed or in the middle of service, suggesting convenience is becoming increasingly important to consumers.
Businesses shouldn’t underestimate the power of word of mouth either. When asked “How likely are you to refer to a friend or colleague?”, diners scored this question an average of 8.4 out of 10.