Large-scale restaurant and pub operators are continuing to hold their own against competition from supermarkets and other market pressures, according to latest research.
The 12 restaurant and pub groups questioned for the Coffer Peach Business Tracker were overall found to be trading well despite reports of a cut in consumer spending and increasing competition from supermarket ‘dine in’ promotions with like-for-like sales rising 0.6 per cent in May.
Peter Martin, founder of the Peach Factory consultancy, which runs the business tracker said there were ‘undoubtedly variations from group to group`, but that like-for-like sales for 2009 at the companies which include Pizza Express operator Gondola Holdings, Whitbread and Mitchells & Butlers, had been steady against 2008 so far.
”It is hard to say if this is down to increased promotional activity, more sophisticated marketing, better value, consistent quality and service, the reassuring strength of brands or even an increase in consumer confidence about going out,” he said.
“The bottom-line is that these established restaurant and pub groups are working harder and continuing to maintain custom.”
While discounting may have helped bring customers through the doors of many restaurants and pubs, Trevor Watson, director of Davis Coffer Lyons, part of the Coffer Group warned that the combined effects of discounting, changes to service charges, higher oil prices and coming VAT increases would inevitably effect profits over the next year.
And the success of those surveyed may have had a negative effect on independent operators who cannot compete on discounts, the report suggests.
Richard Hathaway, head of travel, leisure and tourism at KPMG said: "We are seeing smaller players struggling more as they can’t command the same economies of scale to support significant discounting.
“They are also more vulnerable to the impacts of factors such as their location, less brand recognition and pressures of financing, particularly if they own their own property. We have already had experience of insolvencies in this part of the sector and are likely to see more.”
The other companies involved in the survey were: Punch Pub Company, Tragus Group, TGI Fridays, Barracuda Group, Wagamama, Carluccio’s, Paramount Restaurants, Novus Leisure and Gaucho Grill.
The business tracker is carried out in partnership with KPMG, UBS bank and Coffer Group.
Next Wednesday Restaurant magazine will reveal its R150 list – the top 150 restaurant companies operating in the UK today.
The list is based on turnover and ranges from the very large to the relatively small. It excludes those listed on the Stock Exchange’s Main Market, but includes AIM-listed restaurant companies.