South Africans are eating out more in 2023 than they did pre-pandemic, with all income segments increasing their expenditure on takeaways and in-restaurant dining.
This is according to a study conducted by Discovery Bank and Visa, which analysed South African consumer habits from 2019 to 2022.
Data from Discovery Bank clients and over 20 billion transactions using Visa’s payment systems were collected to produce the report.
A trend highlighted by Discovery Bank CEO Hylton Kallner was the increasing spending of South African consumers on eating out.
South Africans post-pandemic are eating out more across all income segments and regions. However, this trend increases as the load-shedding stages are raised.
Spending on eating out increases in lockstep with increases in load-shedding stages, peaking at stages 5 and 6.
South Africans spend 60% more on eating out during stages 5 and 6 than when there is no load-shedding.
The increased spending on eating out is also compounded by elevated numbers of people working from home.
This correlation does not extend to groceries.
As load-shedding increases, spending on groceries remains flat as people still need to prepare and cook food when ordering groceries, while eating out provides an immediate solution.
Using data from only Discovery Bank clients, a further trend was highlighted.
As a family increases in size, their spending on eating out decreases proportionally, while spending on groceries increases as a family grows.
Spur benefits from increased load-shedding severity
The data shared by Discovery is supported by Spur’s results for the last six months of 2022 when increased load-shedding hit South Africa.
Spur’s profit after tax jumped 183% to R117 million during the last six months of 2022.
Revenue increased by 35.0% to R1.5 billion, driven by a 31.5% increase in franchised restaurant sales and higher sales in the retail company stores, manufacturing, and distribution.
The strong results helped Spur to increase its interim dividend by 67.3% to 82 cents per share.
Chantal Marx, head of investment research at FNB, told Moneyweb that people avoided the intense load-shedding at the end of 2022 by eating out and ordering online.
Eating out became a viable option for families without alternative sources of electricity. This is also shown in the footfall reported by South African malls at the end of 2022.
Marx noted that Spur had repositioned its brands to capitalise on families looking to eat out or order takeaways to avoid load-shedding.
Spur has recognised that its customers used to be “pressed for time”, but now they are “pressed for power”.
Spur has also handled the energy crisis well by leveraging its scale to negotiate group-wide diesel prices, alleviating the fuel cost on its franchisees.
Spur’s head office has encouraged and assisted its franchisees in procuring alternative sources of electricity which are more sustainable and cost-effective in the long term.