Since launching the Star Pubs & Bars annual national forum in 2013, 40 representative licensees from all over the county attended this year’s forum in Milan last week.
In the voting at the forum, 61% felt ‘very positive’ about the trade in 2017, with 39% expressing they were ‘quite’ optimistic about the industry next year.
When looking at the biggest issues facing the trade, a rise in staff costs was among the biggest concerns (34%), while competition for leisure followed closely, with 22% of voters voicing their worries over this issue.
The cost of utilities (4.9%) and the lack of investment (2.4%) were among the least worrying factors for those attending the forum.
The results also indicated that the predominant age range for customers was between 25 and 40-years-old (53.7%), closely followed by a much older demographic of 40 to 60-year-olds (41.5%).
Some 55% of those attending the forum expressed their discontent with TripAdvisor, while only 32.5% felt positive about it.
Star managing director Lawson Mountstevens said: “The positive feedback demonstrates a real confidence in the leased pub industry. This is particularly striking given the uncertainties facing the economy.
"As further proof of their optimism, 97.8% said they would take on another pub with Star or advocate us.”
Last month Star Pubs & Bars launched a professional menu development programme to help grow food sales and profits for its licensees.
As the first of its kind in the industry it includes a workbook and training guide, tailored to the specific challenges that pubs face on a regular basis.
The programme aims to give a more scientific approach to menu development and help licensees to adopt the correct food strategy for their business.
At the time, Mountstevens said: “Customers expect great quality food and great value for money when they step inside a pub.
“They are also spoilt for choice when eating out, so menus have to be brilliantly designed and delivered.
“With 30% of sales on average coming from food in Star pubs, professional menu development can generate significant extra footfall, sales and profits as well as boost sales of beer, cider and wine too.”