Key days for going out over the festive period are the Friday and Saturday before Christmas – so-called ‘mad Friday’ – and also New Year’s Eve, which is on a Tuesday.
However, CGA’s on-trade sales data shows the festive period is beginning to extend to three weeks of celebrations as consumers start going out from the second weekend of December.
CGA director Karl Chessell said: “A festive sales boost will be a welcome relief to restaurant, pub and bar operators, who have experienced a difficult trading year.”
Aided by the mild weather and Christmas day falling in midweek, 2018 saw on-trade sales spurt over the festive period as it gave consumers two weekends either side of Christmas Day to visit pubs and restaurants.
So, if last year is anything to play on, operators could see a 7% boost in overall sales of food and drink.
Chessell continued: “Mild and ice-free weather, and the day Christmas falls, are two of the biggest influencing factors on whether consumers choose to eat and drink out of home over the festive period.
“With Christmas Day and Boxing Day again falling in midweek this year, we should see consumers tempted out – although that does depend on the weather and public sentiment following the general election.”
Drinking more than usual
Two thirds of people (62%) visit the on-trade to eat or drink over Christmas, with half going out more than they would at other times of the year.
Some 66m visits are made to the on-trade in the UK over Christmas, with 43% of consumers spending more on drinking out than they normally do and 45% spending more on eating out.
So, as the Christmas decorations start to go up across the nation – operators are advised to prepare themselves for a plentiful season.