Online restaurant reservation website, Dimmi, has released its fifth annual Australian Dining Index. It provides an insight to the trends impacting the Australian dining scene and gives us an understanding of what, when and how Australians are eating.

Nearly all states experienced a lift with Melbourne up 7.2 percent, Sydney up 6.2 percent, Brisbane up 3.4 percent and Adelaide up 2.1 percent. Perth was the only state to see a decline of 7.7 percent, due mainly to the decline of the resources boom.

The average spend remained steady at $64.28 per person, meaning Australians are eating out more frequently but still spending the same.

The Dining Index reveals that restaurants are feeling the pressure to innovate and think outside the box. The New York Times recently referred to the world’s new obsession with food as a ‘gastronomic youthquake’ and we’ve well and truly embraced that here in Australia. Young diners are leading the push for visually alluring food that they can photograph and post on social networks such as Instagram. Other influences in this area at the ease in which diners now review restaurants and leave reviews online, where chefs are the new celebs, recipe books dominate bestseller lists, reality cooking shows fill prime time TV slots and everyone is a food critic.

Stevan Premutico, Founder and CEO of Dimmi, says, “Food is the new social currency, and it’s at the heart of our homes and at the centre of our economy. We’re part of the greatest industry on earth and the innovation and progression that we’re seeing is just incredible. Dinosaurs are being left behind and the likes of Restaurant Hubert, Norsk Dor, Lûmé and Chin Chin are leading the way.”

Some of the top trends include:

  • Aussie restaurant industry on the up: overall the market rose by by 4.4% with VIC, NSW, QLD & SA leading the pack and WA feeling the pinch post mining boom.
  • Mobile boom: mobile is continuing to be the preferred platform when it comes to deciding where to eat.  65% of online bookings are made on a mobile device and we’re booking on-the-go now more than ever before with 34% of bookings now made within 24 hours of dining time.
  • Killing off no shows: restaurants are now imposing stricter booking policies to try and address the age old issue of diners no-showing. Lots of restaurants are now taking credit card details at the time of booking – and it’s working! The no-show rate has dropped 8% YoY from FY2015 to FY2016.
  • User reviews matter most: we used to ask our friends for advice about where to eat, but now we head online. 35% of Aussies say they depend on verified diner reviews to make an informed decision about where to dine.
  • Solo booking boom: there has been a 47% increase in solo bookings from FY2015 to FY 2016. QLD appears to be the loneliest followed by VIC and NSW.
  • The telephone is  on the way out: more restaurants are embracing the digital age and shifting their restaurant diary online. 42% of all restaurant reservations are now made online, allowing restaurants to cut back labour costs and capture critical customer data at the point of booking.
  • Friday’s down, Sunday’s up: it seems that dining on a Friday is down while Sunday’s are up. We’ve seen a rise Sunday covers in FY2016.
  • Fine dining isn’t dead: average spend remained steady, however, spend in the premium market (more than $110 per head) saw a 5% rise. White tablecloths may be on the way out but it appears that fine dining prices are still very much alive but our perceptions of fine dining are changing.
  • Acquisition & consolidation: there’s been a lot of acquisition, consolidation and expansion in the market this year, with many venues trying to tap into cost efficiencies associated with multi-venues and successful franchises. Think Dixon Group, Urban Purveyor and Merivale.

The Dimmi Dining Index is gathered from the bookings through the last financial year compared to previous years. The figures come from seating 18 million diners, over 3,500 partner restaurants, over 1 million qualified dining reviews and a Dimmi Global Distribution Network, which includes the likes of Google, Qantas, Tripadvisor and Zomato.

To view the full Dimmi Australian Dining Index 2016 click here >>