Orchid prepares for 2012 with list of pub trends and predictions

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Alcoholic beverage

Orchid pub group was founded in 2006 and is now the sixth-largest managed pub/restaurant company in the UK
Orchid pub group was founded in 2006 and is now the sixth-largest managed pub/restaurant company in the UK
Orchid, the 290-strong food-led pub group, has released its own 2012 guide, featuring experts’ predictions of the trends, key issues and challenges facing the wider pub trade next year.

With a year packed full of once-in-a-lifetime events including the 2012 Olympics​ and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee​, Orchid pub group’s guide states ‘cautious optimism is the name of the game’ for pubs in 2012.

“With the economy on the brink of a double-dip recession and unemployment set to grow, Orchid knows there are tough times ahead,” reads the guide. “Further increases in product costs and no likelihood of a VAT reduction will only add to the problem.

“But with 2012 Olympics fever also set to sweep the nation and Orchid’s pubs all geared up for a summer of sport, the picture might not be as bleak as many economists paint it.”

Other pub trends and predictions from Orchid include:

Pub food trends

  • Premium steak is on the way back up with people starting to understand aging and different cuts.
  • Restaurant theatre will see the art of cooking take centre stage, such as in Pollen Street Social’s dessert bar and glass kitchen​.
  • The focus on healthy, affordable kids’ meals will continue to encourage families to eat out. Look for more kids-eat-free promotions, more emphasis on healthy children’s menus, and more ‘adult’ things for kids to eat and drink.

“Food really is going to be glorious next year and eating out will become an even better experience for all the family,” said Sarah Thomas, Head of Food at Orchid pub group.

Pub drink trends

  • Lagers are going global with drinks from around the world, including Peroni and San Miguel, gaining favour over traditional premiums like Stella and Kronenberg.
  • Fruit ciders will also continue to prosper thanks to their appeal to the 18-24 market that generally has a sweet tooth.
  • The soft drinks and low-alcohol categories are short of new developments and strong growth in demand, so there could be openings for new products or clever marketing.

“What we will see in 2012 is a real breadth of choice and education in the drinks sector,” explained David Gwilliam, Senior Purchasing Manager at Orchid pub group.

Pub service trends

  • In 2012, video blog-style training will be seen and social channels such as Facebook will be utilised to help staff share best practice.
  • Orchid pub staff will make concerted efforts to get to know locals better – asking for “a glass of the regular” may become more common. Small touches like personalised tankards will demonstrate the value of customers and encourage them to keep coming back.

“In 2012 people will not just expect high quality and value for money; they will be looking for great service and a personalised experience,” says Lucy Craig, Orchid’s Development Manager.

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