Our Head of Marketing and Innovation (HoMI) was browsing through the Sunday Times last weekend, and stumbled across the headline ‘Raise your glasses to return of the pub’. Whilst this is something that we would certainly tout our glasses to, we contemplated the question, why is this happening?
A bizarre question you might think, however 7 years ago (when said HoMI was going through Hospitality College) we recall headlines that were highlighting quite the opposite. Something more along the lines of ‘the death of the traditional pub’ as we ushered in the new age of gastro-pubs. Most industry practitioners would say things akin to, ‘if your pub doesn’t have a good food menu, you are doomed’. This was four years after the initial smoking ban in 2007, where a quoted 52 pubs were closing per week!
The number of pubs that are closing per week has now fallen to 18, and it is suggested that there is renewed popularity towards conventional pubs, as opposed to gastro. Does that mean that people’s evening entertainment is becoming more regimented? It appears the UK population no longer likes to blur the lines between drinking haunts and eateries, and so would prefer to start the night, or end the night at a ‘wet-led’ business.
Assessing the reasons why the consumer’s interests have gone full circle when the smoking ban was implemented, it caused a mass of frequent (mostly smoking) pub goers to proceed to drink and smoke from the comfort of their own homes. As a reaction to this, many pubs survived by jumping into the casual dining market to cater for the family demographic that are more likely to visit a smoke-free pub. This involved creating sophisticated menus in comparison to the conventional pub which had a ploughman’s or ham, egg and chips at a push (we say licking our lips!). This was at a time when major casual dining brands were going through rapid expansion and this new and trendy ‘fast casual’ sector was vogue.
However, over time wet-led sales have proceeded to exceed expectations, turning the ‘pub-themed restaurant’ into the ‘pub that serves food’, and maybe a contributing reason to why the sector is outperforming the casual dining market. However, we fail to believe that this current trend could ever eclipse the gastro-pub market. This has become a staple venue that anyone we know loves to go to on a Friday night for dinner and a few drinks.
We like to follow industry trends to ensure that we are always able to offer the right product to fit your needs, especially in an environment where you have to be sensitive and reactive to industry trends. Our aim is to guarantee that you maintain control over your purchasing to be able to react and mitigate unwelcome financial surprises when consumer trends are chopping and changing. If this is something that interests you, we are happy to give you a hospitality procurement software demo, to demonstrate how Caternet can save you time and money (whilst protecting you from an adverse business environment!). If you would like to discuss this further, or set up a demo, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!