Zizzi, TGI Fridays among UK restaurants increasingly sharing dishes to combat the cost of living crisis

Discerning diners are eschewing starters and desserts when dining out to save money, prompting some of the UK’s biggest chains to turn to sharing dishes to win them back.

Brands like TGI Fridays, Byron Burgers and Zizzi have increased the amount of dishes meant for sharing as customers cut spending amid the cost of living crisis.

According to industry experts, the average amount people spend in restaurants has fallen by 14 per cent from £25.38 to £21.80 as a result of diners only eating main meals.

Restaurants have now turned to sharing dishes to encourage people to spend more.

Italian chain Zizzi has added their willow board for two to their starter menu, while Byron Burgers’ mac & cheese with pulled beef is also meant for sharing.

TGI Fridays’ entire dessert menu is listed for sharing, including favorites like Chocolate Chip Lava Cookie and S’mores Sundae.

And names like Nandos and Slug & Lettuce have dedicated entire sections of their menus to sharing platters.

While the thought of sharing food might get some foodies’ blood pumping, it’s becoming more common as restaurants try to cope with near-record-breaking inflation.

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Italian restaurant chain Zizzi's grazing board for two (pictured) is one of many dishes that are becoming increasingly common

Italian restaurant chain Zizzi's grazing board for two (pictured) is one of many dishes that are becoming increasingly common

Italian restaurant chain Zizzi’s grazing board for two (pictured) is one of many dishes that are becoming increasingly common

The honeycomb cheesecake at TGI Fridays (pictured), like the rest of the dessert menu, is meant to be shared

The honeycomb cheesecake at TGI Fridays (pictured), like the rest of the dessert menu, is meant to be shared

The honeycomb cheesecake at TGI Fridays (pictured), like the rest of the dessert menu, is meant to be shared

Byron Burgers is another chain that has launched new shared meals to woo diners. Pictured is the chain's Mac & Cheese with pulled beef meant for sharing

Byron Burgers is another chain that has launched new shared meals to woo diners. Pictured is the chain's Mac & Cheese with pulled beef meant for sharing

Byron Burgers is another chain that has launched new shared meals to woo diners. Pictured is the chain’s Mac & Cheese with pulled beef meant for sharing

Lumina Intelligence, a research group that tracks menu prices and items in the restaurant industry, says nearly seven percent of all dishes are now for sharing, including 14 percent of all desserts.

In its latest Menu Tracker report, Lumina said, “Restaurants are introducing more courses-free sharing, including appetizers and dessert dishes, to encourage spending as customers save.”

It added that part of this was due to new laws mandating that calorie counts be put on menus to appeal to more health-conscious customers.

Among those that have introduced more sharing dishes is Mexican chain El Pastor, which has introduced a set menu intended for sharing.

Sophie Orbaum, of Harts Group, which owns El Pastor, told The Times: “The sharing menu was designed to give a ‘best of’ experience to people who may not have eaten with us or had Mexican food before to offer, but it’s also designed with value in mind.’

She said the restaurant has kept the price of its menu at £32 per person despite inflation hitting other items.

Laura Christie, who runs Linden Stores, an independent restaurant in Cheshire, said the launch of a special shared menu has helped the business while raising a few eyebrows.

She told the Observer: “It makes people feel like they’re having a bigger experience. It helps our spending per capita. It helps with efficiency because you know what to prepare and it takes fewer people to deliver it because you know in advance.”

The trend comes as restaurants face the difficult choice of keeping menu item costs the same amid rampant inflation and potentially alienating customers by passing the cost on to diners.

Nandos has an entire section on its menu dedicated to dishes that can be shared between diners

Nandos has an entire section on its menu dedicated to dishes that can be shared between diners

Nandos has an entire section on its menu dedicated to dishes that can be shared between diners

Sharing food might get some foodies' blood pumping, but restaurants are counting on people to come amid the cost of living crisis (stock image)

Sharing food might get some foodies' blood pumping, but restaurants are counting on people to come amid the cost of living crisis (stock image)

Sharing food might get some foodies’ blood pumping, but restaurants are counting on people to come amid the cost of living crisis (stock image)

Lumina says while prices have increased, many restaurants are choosing to keep them below inflation, and in some cases not increasing the price of some items at all.

The company’s Monica Rico Castrillo says that instead of increasing the prices of their entrees, restaurants are raising the prices of appetizers, sides, desserts and new entrees.

“They don’t raise their prices, they do it wisely,” she said.

She said price increases are focused on new dishes being added to the menu rather than old favorites because “there’s no frame of reference” and customers are less likely to notice.

As the amount of money spent on meals decreases, diners are also becoming more frugal when it comes to drinking with meals.

According to the report, the number of meals that included alcohol fell from 38.5 percent to 33.9 percent between June and October.

Cocktails and spirits were hardest hit, while younger customers aged 18 to 34 are the most likely not to drink alcohol at all with meals.

In September, restaurant chefs warned they would have to charge £100 for a steak if they passed on rising energy bills to their diners – one expert says 50,000 businesses are at risk of bankruptcy.

Martin Williams, chief executive of Rare Restaurants, which owns the steakhouse chain Gaucho, says small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are at risk of collapse because of rising costs.

Martin Williams, chief executive of Rare Restaurants, which owns the steakhouse chain Gaucho, says small and medium-sized businesses are at risk of collapse

Martin Williams, chief executive of Rare Restaurants, which owns the steakhouse chain Gaucho, says small and medium-sized businesses are at risk of collapse

Martin Williams, chief executive of Rare Restaurants, which owns the steakhouse chain Gaucho, says small and medium-sized businesses are at risk of collapse

Mr Williams told The Telegraph: “At Rare Restaurants we have fixed our energy prices. Had we not done so, the impact of rising costs across our 22 restaurants would have reduced our profitability by £3.5m.

“In order to maintain margins, steak prices would need to triple to over £100.

“Unless energy prices are addressed, restaurants across the sector will not be able to open profitably and many SMEs will sadly collapse.”

Cuts of beef at the chain’s 22 restaurants currently range from £19.50 to £57, depending on size.

https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/uncategorized/zizzi-tgi-fridays-among-uk-restaurants-increasing-sharing-dishes-to-combat-cost-of-living-crisis/ Zizzi, TGI Fridays among UK restaurants increasingly sharing dishes to combat the cost of living crisis

Brian Ashcraft

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