Despite the end of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and rules on social distancing still in place, diners are spending more in restaurants than they were this time last year, customer card spending data from Lloyds Bank has shown
The first seven days of September saw restaurant spend up 14% on the same period in September 2019.
Adding further hope to many highstreets, the proportion of transactions completed in store versus online continues to rise. At the height of lockdown in April, just half of spending was in store (52%). By the end of July, 65% of transactions were completed in person, rising to 67% by the end of August.
People have not only spent more face to face in recent weeks, but are travelling further to do so. In August, the median card transaction was 3.5km from home, compared to 3km in July, 2.3km in June, and as little as 1.6km in April. Before the pandemic in February, the median distance was 3.8km.
Martin Turner, Head of Current Accounts, Lloyds Bank, said “Our card spending data shows us that the Eat Out to Help Out scheme had the effect it desired, to once again fill restaurants and pubs, and to increase spend at other high-street stores. More and more have started to spend in person, and while the numbers suggest that online spending is still more popular than it was before the pandemic, the gap is closing.”
“UK consumers are showing their resilience via both online and high street spend. So while there is cause for optimism, we continue to monitor the recovery closely.”
As well as a number of restaurants who have agreed to extend the Eat Out to Help Out scheme at their own expense, there are ways to get big discounts at restaurants throughout the year.
A subscription to a service like the Gourmet Society gives people access to discounts at 1000s of restaurants across the country for a yearly fee. Club Lloyds customers can join the Gourmet Society for free, by selecting it as one of their lifestyle benefits. People switching to a Club Lloyds account also currently get £100 paid into their account within 10 days of joining
People in the North East fed a surge in spending in restaurants over August, with levels 31% higher than the same month a year ago. Residents of Yorkshire and Humber and the North West, which both saw 23% increases, complete the top three.
Potentially a result of less commuters feeding the heart of the city, Londoners spent 5% less this August that the same time last year. The South East saw spending increase by just 1% compared to last year, and the East on England by 4%.
When looking at the proportion of transactions completed by regions online as opposed to face to face in restaurants, and therefore being able to take advantage of the discount on offer, it was relatively consistent across all. Scotland saw the largest proportion at 22% of transactions online, while the South West saw the least (16%).