Technomic’s 2011 UK Pub Consumer Trend Report finds that 39 per cent of consumers polled visit pubs less often and a majority of these consumers (72 per cent) attribute their decreased patronage to having less money to spend on dining out.
Technomic conducted an online consumer survey with a regionally representative sample of 1,000 UK consumers last August.
But nearly a fifth of the sample (18 per cent) report visiting pubs more often compared to a year ago.
More than half the sample visit a pub once a month or more and one in five do so at least once a week with frequent pub patronage skewing toward younger consumers.
Additionally, more than a third of males, compared to just a fifth of females, patronise pubs at least once a week.
Of the near quarter of consumers who visit pubs less than twice a year, more than a third say they don’t drink alcohol making this the leading reason consumers don’t visit pubs. Operators can likely increase traffic and sales by broadening their menus and adjusting their concept positioning to appeal to consumers who don’t drink alcohol, suggests Technomic.
Operators may also be able to drive traffic by touting their pub as the ideal destination for special events. Nearly two in five consumers indicate they’re very likely to visit a pub to celebrate a holiday or other special occasion such as New Year’s Eve or a birthday. Another quarter are likely to visit a pub to watch a sporting event or for a date.
Three-quarters of consumers – and four-fifths of females – place high importance on a welcoming environment at pubs. In addition, two-thirds report that a convenient location is important.
Nearly two-thirds of consumers polled visit a pub at least once a month for adult beverages only.
While seven in 10 consumers order an adult beverage, a third order a non-alcoholic beverage. Of those who order a non-alcoholic beverage, two-fifths order a soft drink and one in five order juice.
Nearly three out of five consumers who order an adult beverage order beer. A quarter of consumers order wine, 16 per cent order spirits and 16 per cent order cider. Lager is the most preferred beer while white wine is the most preferred wine type.
Most consumers are loyal to a preferred pub. More than two in five report that they like to visit familiar pubs and tend to go to the same pub for each pub occasion. A quarter of consumers visit familiar pubs but go to a wide variety of different locations and three in 10 prefer to visit a mix of pubs that they have not tried before as well as ones they know they like.
Traditional pubs may be able to further build upon their strong reputation for variety in beer, cider and spirits by offering some rare or premium varieties of each beverage.