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Does your family eat out or dine in?

16th November 2017 Print

Remember the days when families would sit around the dining table, talk about their day and eat a perfectly cooked meal? Research suggests that families no longer eat dinner together, and those that do so tend to do it in front of the television. The reason behind this? Dinner trends are evolving – and this applies to both eating in and out. Overall, there has been a shift away from formal dining to a more casual dining experience, parting the way for the rise of a street food lifestyle. 

We’ve teamed up with Oldrids and Downtown, providers of dinner sets, to take a look at the trend changes from formal dining to casual dining and how the popularity in street food has increased. 

The changes in dining

At one time, dining out with the family was for more formal events – like birthdays and anniversaries. The term restaurant has almost always referred to an establishment where you would go to ‘sit down’ and enjoy a meal cooked for you with table service, typically by a waiter. 

A common problem people dislike about dining out is the wait for the food to arrive, with 70% of adults saying they get frustrated. In a recent survey, 18-34 year olds were asked what their biggest frustrations were, waiting for your food to arrive (42%) and waiting for a table (30%) were listed in the top three.  

Eating at home is a tradition that seems to be fading, with more people deciding to dine out instead. Following the rise of fast-food and take-away restaurants, a formal or fine dining experience has become a second-thought to most people choosing to eat out. Restaurants that offer buffet style food, street food and outdoor eating spaces have become a popular choice for a lot of people, especially families. 

A big decision maker for families to eat out is how affordable it is according to Trajectory, but does this mean that it’s more expensive to cook a meal at home? Chain restaurants such as Wetherspoons, Nandos and The Harvester offer casual, comfortable dining experiences that are moderately priced and tend to have a more relaxed atmosphere. Nandos, in particular, has been voted our favourite restaurant chain in the UK on, proving the casual dining experience has been a hit across the UK. 

Pop-up restaurants and their growth

As the opportunity to try foods from across the globe arises, food lovers are taking full advantage of this and changing the dining experience. According to a survey by Eventbrite, involving 2,000 respondents that had attended pop-up dining experiences, 75% believed a unique dining experience was worth paying extra money for. Not only that, but after analysing over 40,000 of these pop-up dining events, Eventbrite also found that the pop-up dining experience was the fastest growing trend — recording 82% growth. With 66% of all UK adults describing themselves as passionate about food and drink, the UK is becoming a foodie nation.  

People are wanting to make the most out of their ventures at a pop-up restaurant and experience something different – 74% of goers said that they loved interaction with the chef and being able to see the food being cooked in front of them. With figures like this, could traditional formal dining now be a thing of the past? 

The street food experience

Once street food referred to white greasy burger vans, but with a higher demand in quality and foods from across the world, street vans are now cooking gourmet meals and capturing a new market. It’s been around for years in countries such as Thailand, but is relatively new to the UK. However, despite being a late comer to the UK, that hasn’t affected its success. Taking the UK by storm, search volumes for street food have grown by more than 80% between 2014 and 2016 – and the Food and Agriculture Organisation suggests that over 2.5 billion people are now eating street food on a daily basis. 

Foods from across the globe are now available from food vans, shifting what once was a sit-in-restaurant experience to the streets. But it’s not like any other dining experience – there’s no dinner table, no fancy cutlery, it is very casual. Your food is usually served from a van in a public space such as a market or music festival. 

Street food is bound to become more popular with adults saying that they get frustrated when having to wait for their food to cook in a restaurant. And it looks like the trend is firmly here to stay, with 47% of consumers planning to eat more street food in the next twelve months.