78% of Londoners Willing to Pay More for a Meal if it’s Sustainable, According to New Research

78% of Londoners Willing to Pay More for a Meal if it’s Sustainable, According to New Research

  • Diners in London admit they will pay more for sustainable dining
  • Over a quarter of eco-conscious diners surveyed say they would stop visiting a restaurant 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

A new survey by the unified ePOS and payments platform Lightspeed Commerce Inc. (NYSE | TSX: LSPD), suggests that London restaurants could lose just over a quarter of eco-conscious regulars 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 London diners’ mindsets when it comes to sustainability in hospitality, revealing diners are waking up to planet-friendly dining.

Just over 77% of diners surveyed consider themselves environmentally conscious. This heightened awareness is driving a change in consumer behaviour, with 53% of Londoners 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 88% of respondents believing that the restaurant industry must make sustainability a focus if they want to thrive.

When it comes to paying the bill, 78% of the respondents polled are willing to pay more for a meal at a restaurant committed to environmentally friendly practices, with just over a quarter (26%) 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 in London, eco-labelling emerges as something that will help diners make better choices for the planet, with 62% 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, 46% of Londoners 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, vegetarian and vegan restaurants came out on top with 46% of the responses, followed by fine dining restaurants (42%) and cafes & bakeries (39%).

Ingredients were a key focus for many diners with 86% expressing an interest in restaurants providing information about the carbon footprint of their dishes, such as the emissions associated with the ingredients used and 57% of diners wanting to see better food waste reduction efforts. Reduced use of plastics (50%) and locally sourced ingredients (46%) were also important to UK diners.

Transparency and information about a restaurant’s environmental practices should be a priority for London 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 in London 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.

Lightspeed continues to partner with Gift Trees to offer a Carbon Friendly Dining program. Through this partnership, Lightspeed customers can offset carbon emissions associated with their diners by planting trees. As a result of this partnership, over 1.4 million trees have been planted.

Featured Photo by Luisa Brimble on Unsplash.

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