At our sell-out Insight conference on 4 April, CGA’s business unit director for food and retail Karl Chessell took delegates on a whistlestop tour of the changing landscape of eating and drinking out in Britain. From cityscapes to market towns, hotspots for new openings and sales growth, to black-spots for closures, and the spread of changing customer types, tastes and habits – Karl shared key numbers behind trends that every retailer should know:
- 0.1% Fall in the number of managed or ‘group-owned’ restaurant in 2018—the first negative movement since the start of the decade. The decline is likely to go on as supply settles down to more realistic levels after years of growth. “We’re seeing a correction in the market,” Karl Chessell told Insight attendees.
- 48% Proportion of consumers who eat out at least weekly. The number has remained broadly flat for a long time now—as has the number of those drinking out at least weekly (32%). Chessell told Insight that it shows there is still a big appetite for restaurants, pubs and bars.
“People are still going out, and with the same frequency they have for years. The challenge is to grab market share.”
- 2.4% Like for like sales growth for managed pub groups in the 12 months to February 2019—compared to a 0.4% fall in sales for restaurants. As Chessell pointed out: “2018 was tough for some casual dining brands—but a pretty good year for pubs.”
- 58% Proportion of licensed openings in city centres in 2018 that were previously occupied—compared to just 28% in 2013. It shows the huge churn in restaurants, pubs and bars in city centres at the moment.
- 12% Proportion of consumers who say they do not drink alcohol. The figure has increased over the last few years but is actually down slightly on 2017—suggesting the UK isn’t going teetotal en masse. Moderation is key.
- 6.3% Growth in spirits sales by value in 2018—compared to a 2.3% increase by volume. That illustrates the premiumisation of drinking, Chessell told Insight—a willingness to pay more if the quality is right.
- 92% Proportion of consumers who think it is important that the venues they visit use environmentally friendly ingredients. Similar numbers feel strongly about venues investing in local communities (86%) and treating workers fairly (90%).
“People care about the fundamentals of hospitality such as quality and service. They now also really care about how that is achieved…how environmentally friendly a venue is, how it connects with the local community and how it treats its own people,” Chessell said.
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