Dining trends: Fewer than one in 10 pub visits now solely drink occasions

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Food trends: nearly one-in-five food-led pub visits include some sort of meal-deal
Food trends: nearly one-in-five food-led pub visits include some sort of meal-deal

Related tags: Alcoholic beverage

The continued growth of food in pubs has been borne out by the fact that fewer than one in 10 visits in 2014 were drink-only occasions.

This 8.4 per cent figure is down on 2008, when around one in eight (12 per cent) of pub visits were exclusively for beverages, according to figures from data provider the NPD Group.

The growth of casual dining is reflected in the fact that visits to pubs for breakfast have grown by 128 per cent in six years, from 44 million in 2008 to 100 million in 2014.

NPD figures also showed how savvy pubs are trying to bring in to food-led repeat business through drinks promotions.

For the year ending December 2014, meal-deals including a beverage were included in 18 per cent of all food-led pub visits. This is up from 15 per cent in 2008.

Jack MacIntyre, senior account manager for foodservice at NPD Group, said: “Creating a casual dining setting to attract families for this trial-and-repeat strategy has proved successful for many forward-thinking chains.

“They are creating environments that successfully fill the gap between traditional full service restaurants with waiter/waitress service, and the popular fast-food chains.”

Visits down

Data from NPD also found that while people are visiting pubs less frequently than six years ago, pubs still attract more ‘at least once-per-month punters’ (50 per cent) than fast food outlets (45 per cent) or coffee shops (44 per cent).

UK consumers went to a pub on average of 3.9 times per month in 2008, but this is now down to 3.5 times per month in 2014. This means the average Briton now goes to the pub once every 8.6 days, compared to once every 7.7 days in 2008.

For the pub industry, this equates to 47 million fewer visits in the year ending December 2014 than during 2008. Alcohol consumption in pubs has also declined in recent years, according to NPD. Servings of alcohol in pubs are down 28 per cent since 2008, while consumption of hot beverages and soft drinks in pubs is up (11.4 per cent and 6 per cent respectively). 

Success gateway

NPD's MacIntyre said: “Pubs are learning more and more that food is the gateway to commercial success. Chain-led pubs pull in the customers by appealing to a range of consumer motivations – from ‘quick drink’ to ‘family meal’.

“But pubs have done so well with food that they now find themselves competing directly with the top foodservice players.

“Therefore, they have to respond to the fast-moving, innovative and growth-oriented quick-service food concepts that are doing so well on Britain’s high streets.”

Related topics: Openings, Trends & Reports, Pub & Bar

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