The survey from Horizons foodservice consultancy revealed that pub prices are increasing and closing the gap as the average price of three courses in a restaurant has fallen 4.6% year-on-year from £21.65 to £20.66. Meanwhile, the average price of three courses in a pub has risen 7.4% from £17.38 to £18.67 during the same time.
An average main course dish in a pub now costs £9.39, up 10.7% from £8.48 a year ago while an average main course in a restaurant now costs £10.95, down 3% from £11.29. Year-on-year the average price of a starter in a pub has risen 2.7% to £4.93, up from £4.80 while restaurants have reduced the cost of starters over the same period by 9.2% to £5.16 from £5.68.
Desserts saw a similar price rise in pubs over the past 12 months with a hike of 6.1%. In winter 2012 the average price of a dessert in a pub was £4.10, rising to £4.35 a year later. Restaurants reduced dessert prices by 2.8% from £4.68 to £4.55.
This is the fourth consecutive period of price increases in pubs with restaurants on the second consecutive decrease.
Pub sector more confident
"These results indicate that restaurants, in particular, are still feeling the squeeze going into the New Year and have taken fairly drastic action to keep customers coming in," said director of sevices Nicola Knight.
"Overall operators have returned to the price points of winter 2012 from higher levels set over the summer and have also used record levels of meal deal promotions to attract customers in. It is clear from our data that the pub sector is starting to feel more confident, evident in the fact their prices have risen as they feel able to pass on rising costs to their customers."
The survey also revealed that meal deals have reached ‘a new high’ with 76% of featured brands using promotions, up from 59%.
Menu trends highlighted included less rump steak appearing on menus in favour of rib eye and sirloin, while traditional chicken and beef roasts entered the top 20 main course dishes for the first time.
Health credentials on menus are on the increase with 23% of brand snow listing a gluten-free option - an increase of 37%, with 25% more mentions of ‘healthy’; ‘five a day’; and ‘omega 3’. Other trends on the up are pulled pork, beef, chicken and ham, up 105% year-on-year; quinoa and arancini (rice balls); and lobster dishes are up 11%.