by Rosemary Ryan - Hospitality Magazine
More than sixty per cent of Australians say they're eating out in their local community at least once a month as diners increasingly see local restaurants as a necessity rather than a luxury, according to new research.
A Newspoll survey has found 63 per cent of people eat out in their local community at least monthly, including 27 per cent dining in their local area at least weekly.
Click here to find out more! The Local Food Outlet Survey--conducted last month as part of the new Recipe for Foodservice Success program launched by major foodservice suppliers Unilever Foodsolutions, Fonterra Foodservices and Simplot Foodservices--also revealed that being "quick and casual" was a key reason people were choosing to eat out.
Social commentator Bernard Salt said the trend could be a sign that local pubs, clubs, restaurants, cafes and hotels are becoming a new or alternate "dining table" for many families.
"Over the last 30 years, as women have returned to or remained in the workforce, the time available for meal preparation in the family home has diminished," said Salt.
"This basic shift in time availability has underpinned the rise of local restaurants which now fulfil the role of an extension to the family dining room.
"This is a strength for local eateries because they fill the niche of meal replacement, not the niche of a fine-dining experience. Local restaurants have transformed from 'luxury' to 'necessity', from an 'occasional treat' to part of the average household's 'meal solutions'.
The research showed one of the main reasons for eating out locally is that it is 'quick and casual' (72%), suggesting that time is an important factor when deciding between meal options, said Salt.
"The local eatery also enables the family to sit down together to dine," he said. "At a local restaurant the television is not blaring in the background. Teenagers cannot 'not come to the table'. And with no other distractions, all family members must talk about their day, their week, their issues."
The research is one part of the Recipe for FoodService Success campaign launched earlier this year which is aimed at offering foodservice operators tools, skills and incentives to build a stronger business and will help protect the industry by educating and equipping them with business resources and communication support.
The national online survey was conducted among 1203 respondents aged 18-64 years.
For more details about the campaign head to www.recipeforfoodservicesuccess.com.au