Changing occasions: Five shifts in the mix of visits

The latest On Premise User Survey (OPUS) from CGA by NielsenIQ reveals some important changes in consumers’ engagement with pubs, bars and restaurants

Here are five key ways their occasions have evolved:

 

1 A slower tempo

When venues have reopened after COVID-19 lockdowns over the last couple of years, many consumers celebrated with high tempo visits to pubs and bars with friends. Now that life has largely settled back to normal, the tempo has slowed slightly. OPUS shows that relaxed and quiet drinks visits now account for 28% of all On Premise occasions—a rise of three percentage points from the 25% of earlier in the year.

 

2 Earlier dayparts

Concerns about COVID-19 led some consumers to switch their On Premise visits to quieter times of the day in order to avoid crowds, and these habits appear to be sticking. Early evenings (5pm to 8pm) have gained the highest share of visits of any daypart in 2022—another sign of the slight dialing down of tempo. Changes to working habits and the rise of all day concepts have also contributed to consumers visiting the On Premise earlier.

 

3 Casual visits to bars

Around one in six (16%) relaxed occasions now happen in bars—an increase in share of two percentage points from early 2022. While food and drink pubs remain most popular for these easy-going visits, many bar operators have successfully tapped into demand too.

 

4 More romantic meals

On the OPUS rankings of secondary occasions, we have seen a rise of nearly two percentage points in romantic meals’ share of visits. This may partly reflect the higher disposable incomes of couples compared to families.

 

5 Fewer special occasions

While romantic meals are up, special occasions have lost two percentage points of visits share this year. This is another result of the dip in celebratory mindsets after post-lockdown reopenings. However, with some consumers now reducing their trips to the On Premise, but seeking to make the most of their visits when they do go out, securing share of these special occasions will be crucial.

 

CGA client director Mark Jackson says: “COVID-19 has triggered some of the most significant changes in consumers’ On Premise occasions that we have seen in years. From tempo to venues to dayparts, behaviour is in constant flux—and with the cost of living crisis biting, we can expect to see further shifts in the months ahead. It has never been more important for suppliers and operators to understand what consumers want from their visits and be quick and flexible in their responses.”

 

CGA’s On Premise User Survey provides suppliers and operators with vital insights into occasions and many more aspects of consumers’ behaviour and preferences. Bespoke analysis, deep data dives and special research on how the cost of living

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