One in five consumers intend to spend more on eating and drinking out when they return to the office, CACI data shows


CACI, the consumer and location intelligence specialist, has found one in five consumers intend to spend more on eating and drinking out when they return to the office. The findings, from a survey of 1,000 people, are revealed following the government’s confirmation that indoor hospitality and household mixing will be allowed from Monday, 17 May.

While the UK’s hospitality sector has been one of the hardest hit industries due to the pandemic, CACI’s data shows consumers have greatly missed dining at their beloved pubs and restaurants, with 87% willing to spend more or the same on hospitality when at their place of work. The appetite for spending on F&B shows that the industry is set to play its part in the economic road to recovery parallel with businesses across the country taking a more balanced work-life approach.

Of those surveyed 44% of survey respondents reported that less travel/commuting was one of the primary reasons for enjoying working from home and 21% stated that greater flexibility was also one of the main reasons. Forty nine per cent of respondents, however, want to combine home and office working with 19% reporting they wish to return to the office full-time and 25% expect to be working in the office full time post pandemic. As well as spending 20% more on F&B, 14% of respondents stated they will spend more on retail and leisure and 12% will spend more on services.

The data highlights there is a huge opportunity for hospitality operators to tap into consumers’ willingness to spend more when they return to offices, even if it’s for a shorter number of working days during the week. Operators should look for prime locations near offices to attract returning footfall and benefit from workers wanting to spend more when they return, and similarly, landlords should recognise that a mixed F&B offering is essential to meet the demand of a returning workforce and maximise rental return.

Commenting on the research, Alex McCulloch, director of CACI, said: “Hospitality as an industry has been greatly missed by all, and our latest data shows there is high demand of consumers ready to spend and enjoy the novelty of eating out within close distance to workplaces. Therefore, it’s important that landlords and operators recognise the opportunity, as both entities can maximise on revenge spend for F&B, followed by retail, leisure and services, which should be considered as consumers look to return to normality.

“Our working environments have changed significantly throughout the pandemic; we have seen office spaces empty out and the same four walls at home have become our hubs to live, work and play. Now with government restrictions easing and employers understanding the majority of employees want a work-life balance, flexibility is key to a successful workplace moving forward.”

CACI undertook a UK representative survey in April.  The work-from-home research is the latest in a series of industry insights published by CACI, as it works with landlords, retailers and leisure operators to help them better understand changing consumer behaviour.