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Stir it up magazine October 2015

HOSPITALITY Glass half full? 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 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.” KEY FINDINGS OF THE REPORT • 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. The three keys to menu success: COMMUNICATING QUALITY, CUSTOMISATION, & SPECIALISATION >> The UK restaurant market is seeing a proliferation of trends, driven by more knowledgeable, demanding and global consumers. Operators are responding to these trends by increasing the complexity of their menus, by adding dietary specific options, healthier items, regional variations and street food- and fusion-inspired dishes. Typically this is increasing menu product counts, which has the risk of confusing their core offer and potentially compromising quality. Analysis of data from the M&C Allegra Eating Out Panel reveals that consumers rate highest for menu choice those brands that offer flexibility and some dish customisation – Wagamama, Prezzo and YO! Sushi lead in menu choice rankings, all offering flexibility and customisation whilst not having particularly high menu product counts. This shows how some editing of choice is good. Food quality remains the number one reason consumers visit a brand. Operators need to demonstrate their food quality credentials, and one way to do this is to specialise – focus, and do it well. Nando’s, Franco Manca, and Byron, are all good practice examples of specialisation. M&C Allegra forecasts that modest cuts in menu option counts will be the direction of travel for pub brands and, selectively, casual restaurants. Operators are expected to focus on less choice, but more relevance. Similarly, simplified menus, currently categorised as an emerging trend, are forecast to become more common. OCTOBER 2015 11


Stir it up magazine October 2015
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