More than a quarter of dinners out are at pubs

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pub grub: more than a quarter of out of home dinners, and one in 10 breakfasts, involved a pub visit in Q1 2019
Pub grub: more than a quarter of out of home dinners, and one in 10 breakfasts, involved a pub visit in Q1 2019
While an overall slide means pubs are becoming a slightly less popular option for an evening meal, they have increased their market share at breakfast according to findings from foodservice and hospitality research agency MCA Insight.

The latest figures from MCA’s exclusive Quarterly Pub Brand Monitor – which is underpinned by its Eating Out Panel comprising 6,000 consumer interviews every month – found that despite pubs’ share of total out-of-home dinners slipping by 0.5pp (percentage points), more than a quarter (27.5%) of evening meals in Q1 2019 still involved pubs.

This follows news that more than one in 10​ of the UK’s top 100 restaurants, announced at the Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards, are pubs.

According to MCA’s findings, spending time with a partner and social occasions are two of the biggest reasons for visiting the on-trade for dinner, despite dating app Plenty of Fish revealing that a third of Brits think a pub or a bar is the worst place to be taken on a first date​ despite 89% having experienced a ‘pub date’.

Moreover, last year’s most popular pub dinner, steak, was the dish of choice for 10.8% of respondents to MCA’s survey, falling from 13.4% and leaving the beef burger as the top dinner order in pubs.

MCA’s report also revealed that more than one in 10 out-of-home breakfasts now involves a pub following a 1pp increase to 11.4% market share in Q1 2019.

This coincides with an overall decline in alcohol purchasing in pubs, down from 57% to 55% of pub visits due to a significant fall in beer, according to MCA.

Breakfast on rise

“Dinner is a huge day-part for the pub sector – it is the largest food-led occasion from a volume and value perspective,” according to Gareth Nash, insights director at MCA Insight.

“Pubs are seen as a great venue for social occasions, so utilising promotions that attract couples and social groups is one way for pubs to regain share.

“Furthermore, good value is a key catalyst for consumers choosing a particular pub.

“Breakfast is the fastest growing day-part across the total eating-out market and pubs are getting their share of growth.

“However, this isn’t driven by the traditional full English. Although this remains the most popular choice at breakfast, it has fallen 8.8pp year on year. The trend towards healthier eating is evolving in pubs, with eggs, bagels and cereal all growing their share at breakfast.”

Related topics: Food trends

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