Head of Data Products, UK

New YouGov research reveals that those who regularly eat out or order takeaway are more indulgent in general, have more hectic lives and are more likely to snack between meals

For most Brits, a takeaway is an infrequent treat: a bit of flavour at the end of a particularly punishing day of work; a reward for a month’s worth of ‘eating clean’; or just an easy, delicious way to celebrate payday. 

But a new YouGov whitepaper – Restaurants, takeaways, and food delivery apps: YouGov analysis of British dining habits – reveals that for 9% of us, takeaways aren’t an occasional luxury, but a regular fact of life. 

These takeaway regulars order restaurant/carryout meals at least once a week, and almost six in ten (59%) have eaten at McDonald’s in the last month. 

So who are they, and what sets them apart from the rest of the nation?

Restaurant regulars: age, gender, and spending power

Over a third (34%) of this group are men under 40: 18 to 24 year olds account for 17% of this demographic, and another 17% are between 25 and 39. Young women are the next largest group, with 18 to 24 year olds comprising 13% of takeaway regulars and 25 to 39 year olds amounting to another 12%.

Women and men over 60 are the least represented cohort, with 3% and 5% respectively eating out at least once a week. Though the older have more money to their names (and therefore could, in theory, order takeaways and visit restaurants more often), the younger are traditionally more technologically-savvy – so ordering online or via apps may come more naturally to them. When they do, more than half (54%) know what they want to order when they open these apps. 

Professionally speaking, most (56%) of these regular takeout consumers work full-time, and their disposable income is typically under £500 a month: just under a quarter have £125 a month or less to spend, while 41% have between £125 and £499. They’re more likely to live in a metropolitan area (86%, compared to 79% of Britons as a whole), with 18% based in London. Over half (52%) are childless.

Takeaway regulars are too busy to cook – but they’re more likely to care about food

YouGov also compared the attitudes of takeaway fans to those held by the wider public. There were some stark differences.

In terms of lifestyle, for example, restaurant regulars are more likely to indulge in food that isn’t good for them (87%, compared to 67% of Britons across the board) and correspondingly more likely to snack between meals (72% to 56%). Their responses also suggested that they’re busier than the average Brit: just over half (52%) compared to 31% of the public dine out because it’s more convenient to eat on the move, while 45% to 26% think their lifestyle means they don’t have the time to prepare and cook their meals.

But just because they don’t have time to make food doesn’t mean they don’t care about it: takeaway fans are also more likely to say that it’s an important part of their lives (46% to 41%). Most also say they like to go to trendy restaurants and bars (55%), with just a third of Brits in general saying the same.

So takeaway and restaurant brands shouldn’t start selling flavourless, insect-based protein bars just yet – takeaway regulars might not have the time or inclination to make food, but they still expect a certain level of quality and taste.

Download the full white paper here

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