Pub Visiting Report makes optimistic reading…

Despite a further shrinkage in pub numbers, the pub market’s recovery continued in 2014, according to Mintel.

Its recent “Pub Visiting” report revealed total turnover was up by 2.7% to £22.6 billion and growth is expected to continue to £24 billion by 2019.

Food-led pubs are expected to continue performing strongly and turnover from catering is expected to rise by 20% between 2014 and 2019 to reach £8.76 billion.

Chris Wisson, senior drinks analyst for Mintel, said: “The health of the pub industry has been high on the political agenda in recent years, with the government reducing the duty on alcoholic drinks in an attempt to keep pubs open and stimulate market growth.

“Landlords are under increasing pressure to compete with the restaurant industry, as many restaurants are looking to gain further business from pubs, for example by boosting their drink ranges. City centre pubs with high footfall may be able to rely on drink volumes to prop up their turnover, with food being more peripheral.

“However, many other pubs should continue to emphasise their menus to set themselves apart from other pubs and restaurants in the vicinity.”


  • The ageing UK population is a threat to the market, as the over-55s are the least likely to visit pubs. Additionally, a fall in 18-24s and a rise in the 25-34 group will pose additional challenges for the industry as pub visits fall away in the latter age group.
  • 64% of adults visited pubs for a drink in 2014/15, in line with the previous year’s total (61%). Men, ABC1s and 18-24-year-olds are the most likely groups to do so and are also the most likely to be among the 21% of adults who drink in pubs on a weekly basis.
  • The importance of food for pubs is underlined by the fact that 72% of adults go to the pub for food, albeit on a less frequent basis than to drink.
  • High-quality food is the factor most likely to encourage people to visit pubs more, underlining the need for landlords to provide appealing dining menus. The use of locally sourced food could meet this objective, 34% of pub-goers citing it as an enticement. Cheaper prices (48%) and more special offers (38%) are the second and third most likely enticements, reflecting the steady increase in the price of going to the pub.
  • 24% check menus online before visiting, underlining the need for easy-to-find and-use menus on pub websites.
  • With competition for day trade from coffee shops, pubs should look to provide high-quality hot drink options, with 27% of pub visitors already drinking hot drinks in pubs.