Despite a rising cost of living and economic pressures on consumers, data compiled by SevenRooms indicates that Australians are still prioritising experiences.

However, consumers are prioritising quality experiences, with 68 per cent agreeing that cost of living pressures are leading them to opt for better outings, but less often.

The SevenRooms Dining Discovery report has broken the Australian market into five different consumer profiles, defined by their dining habits. The largest profile is the special occasion diner, which makes up 35 per cent of the market. Special occasion diners go out for celebrations or holidays, and prioritise researching a venue that is well suited for the occasion.

The other profiles are:

  • Spontaneous diner (22 per cent): The spontaneous diner rarely books ahead and is governed by their immediate desires in terms of cuisine, location and ambiance.
  • Less is more diner (22 percent): These diners loyally patronise a small number of favourite venues.
  • Homebody diner (13 per cent): The homebody diner prefers to order in, and rarely goes out.
  • Influencer diner (10 per cent): These diners regularly seek out the most exciting new locations and always book ahead.

Paul Hadida, General Manager APAC at SevenRooms, pointed out the rising importance of unique experiences at venues.

“We’ve known for some time that consumers are demanding more personalised experiences when dining out at restaurants. The experiential economy is currently undergoing a second coming where businesses who are designing engaging experiences are winning on the current competitive battleground for consumers’ attention and money,” Hadida commented.

Researching venues, particularly online, is increasingly important for diners looking for new restaurants, with 51 per cent of Gen Z’s and 48 per cent of millennials stating that they will only book a special occasion dinner at their favourite venue or a well-researched venue. When researching for an upcoming outing, the majority (62 per cent) of Australians conduct research on Google, 50 per cent look on restaurant websites, and 44 per cent ask friends and family.

“Economic pressures are making consumers more cautious about their spending, so they’re expecting more from venues when they do dine out. They’re there for more than a meal, they’re there for the experience – as evidenced by one in three Aussie’s defining themselves as a ‘special occasion diner’,” Hadida outlined.

In this difficult period, Australians want to assist food and beverage operators however they can, such as booking directly with a venue, which almost four in five Australians agree is better for the venue. Of those surveyed, 70 per cent would be more likely to book directly with a venue if they had dined there previously, 37 per cent would be enticed by an incentive such as a complimentary appetiser, and 35 per cent would book directly if it meant the restaurant was able to provide a better service. Additionally, two thirds felt that third-party fees on booking and delivery apps are too expensive.

“Regardless of the type of diner Aussies classify themselves as, booking directly with a restaurant gives Aussies and restaurant operators the ability to provide a better experience as they’re able to build a direct, more meaningful connection with them from the first interaction. At the same time, Aussies get more bang for their buck, a better overall dining experience and a more meaningful connection with Australia’s hospitality industry,” concluded Hadida.

SevenRooms is a sponsor of the 2023 Pub Leader’s Conference, and Paul Hadida will be taking part in a panel on ‘Data, loyalty management and the customer experience’. Find more information and get your tickets here.

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