Cafés/bars sales up 6% in 2016

Sales in Irish cafés and bars rose 6% to €4.3 billion last year as the number of transactions grew 4% with the number of such outlets growing by 1% to 10,848 according to a recent Passport report from Euromonitor International.

The most concentrated sales channel in 2016 was that of specialist coffee shops which grew sales by 16% to €94 million as coffee chain outlets continue to dominate this category. Irish consumers have become much more knowledgeable about coffee and they enjoy premium coffees so have increased their visits to specialist coffee shops. The quality/premium coffee message for the Irish pub is therefore clear.

According to Euromonitor, “With Ireland being the home of pubs, traditional Irish pubs are very typical destinations and definitely a ‘must’ for all tourists, so sales in these outlets rose because of these inflows. Additionally, the unemployment rate declined from 10% in 2015 to 8% in 2016 which in turn boosted pub sales as well as overall category sales.”

But the report warns that the specialist coffee shops have also widened their food offering “not only to sweet bakery products but also to savoury snacks and meals in an effort to attract consumers for breakfast and other daytime meals such as lunch”.

Eat-in sales accounted for 86% of total sales value in cafés/bars last year and Euromonitor points out that, “Pubs also compete on food quality which is of increasing importance for Irish businesspeople as well as for tourists when selecting a pub.”

Euromonitor puts the percentage of drink sales from the total sales value in cafés/bars at 67% for 2016, with customers looking for more premium drinks when they go out to pubs and bars.

“There is a clear trend towards higher-quality and higher-priced items such as premium whiskeys and gins as well as craft beers,” states the report, “Another important trend that had an impact on bars/pubs growth in 2016 was entertainment as tourists and Irish people favoured outlets with a good atmosphere and fun entertainment.”

While consumers of all ages and from different backgrounds like going to bars/pubs and cafés, specialist coffee shops tend to be visited by women and these have become a very popular meeting place for the younger generations too.

The report points out that heavy alcohol taxes, increased operating costs, the cost of insurance and the increased minimum wage continue to pose a threat to growth in the category.



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