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70% of Diners Willing to Pay More for their Dish if it’s Sustainable

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  • Diners admit they will pay more for sustainable dining 
  • Over a quarter of eco-conscious diners surveyed say they would stop visiting somewhere if they found out that it wasn’t being run in a sustainable way
  • Fine dining restaurants lead the way in being perceived as the most sustainable restaurants, leaving vegan and vegetarian restaurants in second place 
  • Hospitality industry urged to put customer expectations first to address sustainability concerns

London, November 28th, 2023 / A new survey by the unified ePOS and payments platform Lightspeed Commerce Inc. (NYSE | TSX: LSPD), suggests that restaurateurs could lose just over a quarter of diners if they found out their business wasn’t being run sustainably. 

Lightspeed Commerce Inc., the unified ePOS and payments platform for ambitious entrepreneurs to accelerate growth, provide the best customer experiences and become a go-to destination in their space, looked at UK diners’ mindset when it comes to sustainability in hospitality and discovered diners are waking up to planet-friendly dining. 

Over 70% of diners surveyed consider themselves environmentally conscious. This heightened awareness is driving a change in consumer behaviour, with 36% of Britons actively seeking restaurants that have robust sustainability initiatives in place.

Of those who proactively seek planet-friendly restaurants, over a quarter (26%) stated that they would stop visiting a restaurant if they discovered it was not run sustainably, showing that for many diners, the commitment to sustainability is not just a preference but a principle. 

The future of the UK dining industry is increasingly intertwined with sustainability, with 82% of respondents believing that the restaurant industry must make sustainability a focus if they want to thrive. 

When it comes to paying the bill, 70% of the respondents polled are willing to pay more for a meal at a restaurant committed to environmentally friendly practices, with one in five (19%) saying they would be prepared to pay more than £10 extra for an environmentally-friendly dining experience. 

Amongst the sustainability proof points expected from diners, eco-labelling emerges as something that will help diners make better choices for the planet, with 50% of respondents expecting to see restaurants label their dishes with carbon footprint ratings, similar to calories outlined on menus seen in many casual dining restaurants today. 

However, there is still some way to go for the hospitality industry. Despite increasing talk around more sustainable dining, 60% of respondents haven’t noticed any changes in restaurant menus to include more sustainable options in recent years. When it comes to which restaurant categories are perceived to be contributing the most to sustainability, fine dining came out on top with 45% of the responses, followed by vegetarian and vegan restaurants (42%) and cafes & bakeries (27%).

Ingredients were a key focus for many diners with 77% expressing an interest in restaurants providing information about the carbon footprint of their dishes, such as the emissions associated with the ingredients used, and 62% of diners wanting to see better food waste reduction efforts. Locally sourced ingredients (61%) and reduced plastics (53%) were also important to UK diners. 

Transparency and information about a restaurant’s environmental practices should be a priority for restaurants if they are to drive growth. Liam Crooks, EMEA MD at Lightspeed, said: “For the last two years, dining out has been all about the experience, and that will continue to be the case in 2024. However, there’s a shift – for many it isn’t just about the experience in the dining room, now customers want to know about the experience of the whole supply chain. From people welfare to carbon footprint and food miles, customers are asking these questions and making decisions on where they spend their money based on these sustainability practices.”

These elements coupled with continued focus by the UK government and regulators concerning environmental standards make a compelling argument for why sustainability needs to be more of a focus for the hospitality industry going forward. Diners not only seek eco-friendly practices but also actively support restaurants that embrace them. As sustainability continues to take centre stage, restaurants that prioritise green initiatives can reap the rewards of an increasingly eco-conscious clientele.

About the research: 1,000 UK-based adults, aged between 18-100 years old were polled via an online survey by Perspectus Global, conducted in November 2023.

About Lightspeed 

Powering the businesses that are the backbone of the global economy, Lightspeed’s one-stop commerce platform helps merchants innovate to simplify, scale and provide exceptional customer experiences. Our cloud commerce solution transforms and unifies online and physical operations, multichannel sales, expansion to new locations, global payments, financial solutions and connection to supplier networks.

Founded in Montréal, Canada in 2005, Lightspeed is dual-listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: LSPD) and Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: LSPD). With a dedicated London office, as well as teams across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, the company serves retail, hospitality and golf businesses in over 100 countries.

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