Side orders’ menu share across the sector rose from 17.1% this time last year to 18.2%, according to the bi-annual menu trends survey by foodservice consultancy Horizons.
The number of new snack dishes on menus have also risen by 60% since last year, the survey revealed.
Horizons analyst Nicola Knight said: “This partly reflects the more flexible nature of dining out, driven by consumers who want to eat what they want, when they want.
“But it also shows that operators are upselling additional side dishes and snacks to customers rather than increasing the price of their main courses.”
The average price of a main course in the pub sector rose by 1.4% to £9.81 compared with restaurant main courses, which dropped 1.2% to £11.15.
However, starters in pubs became 12.4% cheaper this year, coming in at an average of £4.74.
The average dessert price across the pub sector rose marginally (0.6%) to £4.40.
The overall price of a three-course meal in the pub sector rose 1.1% to £18.94, compared with a 3.4% rise in hotels (to £28.59) and a 1.5% drop in restaurants (to £21.22).
Knight said: “Overall the cost of eating out has risen at a slower rate than inflation over the past year so it seems operators do not seem able to increase their prices to reflect additional costs such as the National Living Wage and the possibility of costs increasing post-Brexit.”