This figure is forecast to grow at 2.2% over the next four years, probably the lowest of all the commercial channels, where cafés are expected to grow by around 8% during this time.
Nevertheless, pubs are the second-most-popular foodservice channel, behind Quick Service (fast food) outlets but ahead of full-service restaurants and hotels.
The Licensed Vintners Association highlighted the growing trend toward eating out by hosting a conference for its members yesterday in Dublin’s Westbury Hotel.
Celebrity chef Kevin Dundon topped the bill at the event alongside a host of other industry experts in the areas of design, equipment, culinary trends, retail and wholesale, including Bord Bia, Musgrave Food Services and Stephen Cooney from The Old Spot.
Pubs are perfectly placed to exploit the trend towards eating out as they position themselves to attract lunchtime diners as well as those out for an evening meal or Sunday lunch. Pubs are also an attractive destination for large group outings, as the social environment is suited to family and work get-togethers.
“There’s strong evidence to suggest that the food offering provided by pubs has gone from strength-to-strength, both in quality and demand,” said LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe, speaking ahead of the Association’s ‘Food is the Future’ conference, “This is reflected in the soaring popularity of the pub food over the past number of years.
“While food has always been an important element of the pub trade its growth prospects are strong and the trade is positioned well to exploit future growth as this trend continues.”
He continued, “Many tourists regard dining in a Dublin pub as a ‘must do’ on their holiday itinerary and appreciate trying dishes which use locally-sourced ingredients as many pubs tend to do. Also, with more and more pubs offering child-friendly options, there’s no reason that the whole family can’t enjoy the fayre on offer in their local pub. Whether it’s locals, families or tourists, pubs are ideally positioned to exploit the demand for casual, convenient, quality dining in a comfortable environment while enjoying a drink. Particularly in the case of tourists who may be there to experience traditional music.”
At the conference, the LVA also announced a partnership with Musgrave Food Services which will benefit LVA members by offering discounts from the food supplier.
The LVA will be celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2017 which makes it one of Ireland’s longest serving trade associations with an unbroken history.
See the extended report on ‘Food is the Future’ in the December-January issue of Drinks Industry Ireland magazine.