Third of country pubs report turnover up

While one third of country pubs report an increase in turnover some two-thirds of pubs outside the capital seem “not confident” or “worried” for the future of their business.

This is indicated by the results of a BDO survey of Vintners Federation of Ireland members undertaken recently. The survey showed that only around 3% to 4% express themselves “very confident” for their pub’s future.

The BDO survey, conducted among the VFI’s 4,000 membership, indicates that nearly one third of VFI pubs plan some form of capital investment in their premises while just under half report no such plans at the present time. One in five are “undecided”.

The survey results indicate that just under 30% of pubs outside the capital had higher turnover levels in 2017 than had been the case in 2016, with two in five reporting similar turnover levels. Some 27% reported turnover down while amongst rural and country pubs (outside the larger towns and cities) this figure was even higher at 29.5% indicating more challenging market conditions in these locations according to BDO.

Just over one in 10 (11.4%) pubs outside the capital plan to increase the number of staff in their premises while just 8.1% of rural or village pubs plan to do so. But the vast majority of rural or village pubs – 76.3% – have no such plans to increase staff numbers while for all pubs outside the capital this figure is 74%.


Impacting pub performance

Insurance, local authority rates and increasing operating costs were cited as factors having the greatest impact on pub performance outside Dublin, well ahead of other factors such as ‘compliance’ costs – for example, meeting EHO demands on food, smoking areas etc as well as maintaining personnel records and those for insurance purposes plus those for EHOs (again) – and staffing.

Implementing the new General Data Protection Regulations, rent, competition and Brexit were identified as having the least impact.


Food sales

19.4% of pubs outside Dublin provide hot food. This figure rises to 31.4% for rural and village pubs, resulting in an 82:18 beverage:food split for pubs outside Dublin. Within this, rural and village pubs report an 80:20 beverage:food split.

In pubs with a higher level of turnover – over €381,000 – food sales account for a higher level again, approximately 34% according to the VFI survey.



Looking ahead three to five years, over half of all pubs outside the capital expect to be in business still (55%). Of these, 53% of rural and village pubs expect to remain in business.

But 14.4% of all pubs outside the capital don’t expect to remain in business, with around one in three “not sure”.

The VFI survey results involved returns from 535 member-pubs outside the capital of which 333 were in rural or village locations.



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