Supermarkets are pushing an array of dine-in-for-two meal deals

As restaurants struggle to fill their tables in the midst of a cost of living crisis, supermarkets are looking to cash in.

The past few months have seen numerous retailers expand their dine-in deal offers in an attempt to give shoppers the restaurant experience on the cheap.

For while people may be eating out less these days, that doesn’t mean they don’t still want the treat. “We want to still recognise Fridays and Saturdays as a special night and treat ourselves with something a bit better and more special that needs less preparation,” says Catherine Shuttleworth, CEO of marketing agency Savvy. 

Dine-in deals arguably offer the perfect balance: an easily prepared, multi-course meal, which in some cases include a bottle wine. When that all comes for the price of a restaurant main, the temptation is obvious. 

So what new deals are available? And how do the supermarkets compare?


The original dine-in specialist offers several themed dine-in offers. And it’s upping the ante. A steak & chips meal for two, launched this week, consists of one main, one side and one sauce for £10.

The premium deal certainly offers luxury, with three types of steak, wild Alaskan salmon fillets, or a whole rotisserie chicken (which otherwise retails at £9), on offer for main. The sides include chips, sweet potato chips, and other vegetable options. 

The price on the main deal is £12 – including a ‘Pizza Night’ comprising two pizzas and two sides for £12 – but there are more expensive options available with the ‘Family Dine In’ meal for £15 intended to serve four, which includes two mains and four extras. The current special is Tex-Mex but it changes monthly. 

For Shuttleworth, M&S leads the way with its dine-in offering: “M&S still lead the pack for me. Shoppers see the M&S offering as more of a treat, an affordable luxury.” 

Nick Bubb, an independent retail expert, agrees. “The M&S £10 steak and chips stands out as it’s a focused and popular treat at a key price point with the quality likely to be good.” 

m&S plate

M&S’s new meal can include salmon or chicken


Waitrose will never be as competitive as rival supermarkets. But with the launch of its first meal-for-two dine-in deal early last month, it’s hoping it can at least play catch-up with M&S.

Costing £12 and consisting of one main, one side and one dessert, it’s an homage to its upmarket rival, but with homebound restaurant-goers clearly in its sights. In its new marketing campaign, it insists that ‘eating in can be as good as dining out’. 

But at £12, “the Waitrose offer is a bit expensive, like the rest of their range” says Bubb. 

But being cheapest is not everything, suggests IGD insight manager Nicola Knight. “It’s not always having the lowest price that counts but offering perceived value for money at a clear price to avoid ‘bill shock’ at checkout.” 

Waitrose claims to offer a choice of 11 mains, eight sides and six desserts, including vegetarian options. However, its website had only seven of the sides available, and four of the desserts, this week.

For the £12 price tag, some customers may be disappointed that the deal does not include a drink, unlike several of the other key players. 

But the traditional inclusion of wine in the deal might not always be essential for many. “Wine certainly used to be a key part of these deals when they first came in,” says Bubb, but “people can easily supply their own booze, so it’s probably not vital”. 

Knight agrees shoppers are likely to prioritise price over having their favourite drink included. “Shoppers are likely to be looking for a more affordable price point than additional luxuries that they may already have at home, or not want.” 

Drinks are still an important component for special occasions such as Valentine’s Day and birthdays, which offers a key gap for retailers to explore. 

“A premium celebratory option containing a drink alongside a convenience and affordable everyday option would cover both needs,” says Knight, “so we may see more tiers of dine-in deal, targeted at different occasions, start to appear.” 


Amazon is another grocery retailer new to dine-in. Following its first trials over the summer at £10 a pop for four people, its new dine-in deal for two – consisting of a main and side for £5 – is not only cheaper than any of the supermarket deals, it includes a number of upmarket ready meals from supplier Booths, including Garlic Butter Chicken Kievs with a Basil & Parmesan Crumb, and Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breast with Cocktail Sausages & Stuffing, while sides include Triple Cooked Chips, Cauliflower Cheese and Vegetable Medleys.

However, with Amazon Fresh stores limited in number and only located in the south east, the reach of the deal is limited.


As a convenience retailer, Co-op has a slightly different approach to the dine-in deal. Pitched at the lower end of the pricing scale, the Co-op offers two types of dine-in deals for two. The £8 ‘Irresistible’ meal features four choices of main – none vegetarian – and four side options. 

“Convenience stores need to work hard to compete on price and value perception so it’s a more limited deal but at a clear and reasonable price point, this is a sensible option for Co-op,” says Knight. 

The other Co-op deal costs £6 for a choice of eight mains and eight sides, from the retailer’s standard-tier range. Although the deal is cheaper than competitors, the options are more limited and the deal does not include a dessert or drink. 

“The price points are attractive”, says Bubb, though he adds: “you get what you pay for”. 

Waitrose deal

Waitrose unveiled its deal to rival Marks & Spencer in October


Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s all offer similar £12 dine-in deals, each consisting of a main, side, dessert and drink for two people.

It’s the drink that’s the biggest differentiator with these four. In the case of Tesco, customers can choose a bottle of (five varieties of) wine, four Peroni beers or a soft drink. The soft drink options are two bottles of Bottlegreen pressé or six glass bottles of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar.

Tesco’s dine-in options, from its premium Finest range, are notable for only being available to Clubcard holders. Two other deals – ‘Heat and Enjoy’ and a pizza deal – are also only available to Clubcard holders.

The deals offer customers a good selection of choice, but the Clubcard requirement is certainly a limiting factor.

Tesco 2

Tesco’s dine in deal offers a wide selection of drinks including wine


Sainsbury’s offers two kinds of dine-in deals: a £12 dine-in for two, and a pizza deal, also £12.

In a store visited by The Grocer, the dine-in for two deal included nine main options, four side options and three dessert options, though there were gaps where additional choices were not in stock.


Asda’s Extra Special £12 dinner deal consists of seven mains, and is most notable for having no vegetarian option.

Online there are 10 side options, and five dessert options. The drink choices include red or rosé wine but curiously no white. Asda also offers four Stella Artois beers, Diet Coke, Bottlegreen or Lily O’Brien’s chocolates as an alternative to a drink. The retailer has recently began offering a Sky store movie voucher with each deal, an innovative decision. However, in a store visited by The Grocer there were significant gaps in the products offered as part of the deal, including just a single bottle of wine on the shelf.

Asda also offers a pizza meal deal, including two mains, two sides and one drink for £10.


Morrisons’ £12 for two deal offers seven choices of main, though on 31 October only one was available online: a smoked salmon, haddock & king prawn fish pie, which made for a disappointing selection. 

Knight sees availability issues, such as those experienced by Morrisons, as being a big challenge for retailers. “If several options are unavailable, it dilutes the choice across the whole deal, which will limit uptake and reduce sales of all products.” 

Ultimately, dine-in deals are popular and likely to stay so as the evenings get longer and shoppers continue to look for a good-value deal. “Now the clocks have gone back, we are watching Strictly and I’m A Celeb and we are saving up for Christmas” says Shuttleworth. “The dine-in deal is definitely back.”