In a new analysis released today, spend management solutions and services provider Concur, supported by data from reservation service Table8, has found that business dining has become a driving force in growing restaurant sales - a trend likely to only increase in the coming months.

According to data from the National Restaurant Association, total restaurant sales hit a record high in October 2014. Business dining, a large part of restaurant revenue, is expected to contribute significantly to the increase moving forward.  

"Business dining is big business, especially right now, as our data shows," said Brian Camposano, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Concur, in a statement. "From our Expense IQ Report of last year, dining ranked as the third largest spend category for companies in the US, trailing only airfare and lodging. With business travel predicted to rise in 2015, we expect to see overall corporate expenditure – especially for business dining – go up as well.” 

Other notable findings included:

  • Overall dining sales in the US grew approximately 1.4 percent from Q1 2013 to Q1 2014, but Concur found that business users increased their dining spending by six percent within the same period. This business dining spend represents a variety of expense types including meals while traveling, client meetings and team outings.
  • Since 2011, business dining has averaged a five percent increase year-over-year – indicating that business dining continues to be a top expense for employees. This growth in business dining spend at a faster rate than leisure dining is similar to the accelerated growth seen in corporate air, hotel and ground transportation spend.

  • Among Concur’s 25 million users, New York City, Chicago and San Francisco were the top three business dining cities by total spend for the 12-month period from August 2013.  The most generous business spenders were found in New York ($152 per dining check); Boston ($121 per dining check); Miami ($120 per dining check); Chicago ($118 per dining check); San Francisco ($117 per dining check).
  • In the last 12 months, business users from technology companies transacted most frequently (about 5 times per person), but spent the second lowest in business dining, at $84 per check. During the same timeframe, financial company employees transacted less frequently (about 3 times per person), but spent the most in business dining, at $123 per check.  

“Our restaurant partners tell us that business diners typically spend up to 2-3 times more than the average social diner,” stated Table8 CEO Peter Goettner. “Restaurants that recognize the importance of business diners can devise smart marketing strategies to attract more business diners through their doors and increase margins on days of the week where they typically see lower traffic from the social diner.”
For more information on Concur, head to their site here.