Eating Out: Aussies spend $1 billion per week

23 November 2016

New report shows Australians spend nearly $1 billion – or $100 per household – a week eating out .

Forget the occasional smashed avocado; according to a new market research report, Aussies set their sights (and budgets) significantly higher, with an average household spending approximately $100 per week eating out. Overall it equates to 50 million meals out each week, or 2.5 billion in a year.

The data is contained in a new report from Intermedia, which publishes trade titles including Hospitality Magazine, Australian Hotelier and Bars and Clubs Magazine. ‘Eating Out in Australia’ is a major research project that analyses the market for eating out in Australia in a way that has never previously been attempted.

“No-one had ever surveyed the whole eating out market before,” said report author Graeme Philipson. “Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics is very patchy, and the industry itself has not done a good job of self-analysis. A report of this nature is long overdue.”

The report is based on the findings of two major surveys conducted in August 2016: a survey of 1009 eating out venues, and a survey of 1095 consumers. It also draws on detailed analysis of industry and Australian Bureau of Statistics data to determine market sizing and structure. This was supplemented with interviews with leading industry figures to better understand the trends suggested by the research.

The venues were asked a range of questions about their challenges and concerns, about what meals and drinks they served and consumer behaviour, and about issues such as staffing, marketing and the use of technology. The consumers were asked a range of questions about eating out – likes and dislikes, frequency, expenditure, etc. The combination of the findings of the two surveys gives a unique overview of the state of eating out in Australia in 2016.

Some highlights from the research include the following:

  Cafe Venue The average annual income for a venue from meals  is $533,000 (though cafés average just $350,00).
 Hospitality Staff Staffing issues are – by a significant margin – the biggest challenge facing the industry.
 Healthy Cusine People are eating healthier food. Venues are reporting rises in healthy foods and cuisines, with less healthier offerings in decline. Healthier cuisines like Japanese are becoming more popular, while those regarded as less healthy, such as steak houses, are declining.
 Online booking Consumers are increasingly booking online, though phone calls are still the most common way to book a table.
 Food home delivery More and more people are eating restaurant meals at home, brought to them by delivery services. That said, the actual proportion of meals being delivered remains comparatively small.
 Patron Complaint Venue operators have noticed customers are expecting more and are more likely to complain if they do not get it.
 Alcohol consumption Alcohol consumption is declining. BYO restaurants are in the minority, and very few clubs and pubs allow alcohol to be brought in.


Despite so much money being spent on eating out that money has to be spread among a lot of providers, with the research estimating that there are nearly 82,000 places for Australians to eat out, including 22,000 restaurants and nearly 7,000 pubs and bars. There are over 29,000 fast food outlets and 21,000 cafés and coffee shops.

Of course if you prefer to DIY, there are plenty of ways to save money on food.

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