Has the pandemic changed our eating out habits?

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Has the pandemic changed our eating out habits?

I think it's fair to say that the pandemic changed all of our lives in some way.

For us, we decided to prioritise finally getting around to fixing things that needed doing in our house and having so much quality time together and Steve switch to working from home helped us to come to the decision that it was time for Steve to leave his employed job and join North East Family Fun as a partner (we haven't looked back). 

The pandemic certainly made us consider how and where we spend our money too. After months of not eating out, it has been brilliant to be able to get back out there and enjoy spending time in restaurants again, especially with family and friends when it comes to celebrating special occasions. 

As much as making our own gnocchi during lockdown was nice, I much prefer leaving it to the professionals now

One other thing that has changed for us is that we're much more frugal when it comes to dining out now too. This is partly due to the cost of living crisis too but I generally research menus and prices before we visit somewhere and always try and look for early evening specials or 2 for 1 and 50% off deals at restaurants and rarely pop in somewhere on a whim now.

As someone who is self employed, my earnings took a real hit during parts of the pandemic and although they have thankfully recovered now, it was a lesson that everything I have built can easily be taken away again so I do like to make every penny count and get the best value possible when eating out now. 

We have had a tastecard for quite a few years now (a perk through our bank) and I was interested to read some of the research they have uncovered when it comes to eating out post-pandemic. It's something I hadn't really considered before but interesting stuff. Here are some key points: 

Interest in Italian restaurants has more than doubled 

I find this kind of stuff super interesting! Post pandemic, there have been 204% more searches for Italian restaurants. Why is this? It could be that Italian restaurants naturally lend themselves to relaxed family dining and eating out with kids and as we want to make the most of time with family and friends now, this could be why.

Or it could be that loads of us (myself included) bought a pizza oven during lockdown and have now had enough and decided it's best to leave pizza making to the experts? Perfecting the perfect pizza is certainly more tricky than it looks.

What do you think? 

More people than ever are searching for Japanese restaurants near them 

There has been a 222% increase in people searching for Japanese restaurants near them post-pandemic. Again, interesting stuff and I wonder why this is? Part of me thinks that these days, a lot of us have been inspired to live life to the full and try new experiences and are more willing to try something new. 

But I also know that in Newcastle, we have two Japanese restaurants that have been here for years and everyone knows about but there are new ones popping up all of the time and I guess people are searching for more information / reviews if they fancy trying somewhere new. 

Interest in Indian restaurants has doubled in 2022 

This one has shocked me a little as like most people, we have our 'go-to' Indian restaurants so it's surprising to see that interest in searching for Indian restaurants has doubled in 2022. 

I think this could be down to, again, the fact that Indian food really lends itself well to social dining and a lot of us when we eat out now are looking for this kind of experience. 

Or if you take the cuisine type out of the equation altogether, 'restaurants near me' received a search volume of 692,103 in April 2019 however by April 2022, this had increased to 1,222,729. That's some increase! I know Indian cuisine is popular so I guess this just goes along with the trend. 

If you were interested, in April 2020, the search term for 'restaurants near me' dipped to 79,103 which reflects the impact closures had on the hospitality industry at the time. 

You can read more of the research in the infographic below. I'd love to hear your thoughts on why you think people searching for local restaurants has increased by so much when compared to before the pandemic. 

For me, I definitely spend more time searching for the best restaurant deals and prices online before I book anywhere these days. I don't mind spending a little more if it's worth it but I'm always super conscious of the value we receive when eating out now. 

Have your eating out habits changed too? Let me know. 


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