Food-led pubs feel the pressure as eating-out spend drops

By Alice Leader

- Last updated on GMT

Food fall: eating-out spend drops as like-for-like sales get boost from drink sales
Food fall: eating-out spend drops as like-for-like sales get boost from drink sales

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Pubs that specialise in food sales are feeling the heat as like-for-like dry sales slip by 0.2% in November.

The latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker reveal Britain’s managed pubs and restaurant groups collectively saw like-for-like sales edge up 0.5% in November, but this was primarily driven by drink sales.

Restaurant groups saw like-for-like sales drop 0.1%, and while managed pubs recorded overall like-for-like growth of 0.7%, that included an increase in drinks sales of 1.1%.

Like-for-like food sales in pubs fell 0.2% in November.

Positive signs

Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at trade consultancy RSM, said: “It was perhaps unsurprising that a wet and windy November saw diners sheltering at home rather than braving the elements.

“The restaurant sector saw volume sales down 2.1% over the month and operators will be relieved that the fall in number of covers was largely offset by higher spend per head by those who did dine out.

“With drinks-led businesses seeing like-for-like sales growth, the signs are positive that the festive trading season will deliver some welcome news for the sector.”

Karl Chessell, director of statistical analysis business CGA, said: ​“Also, school half-term holidays at the start of the month produced a healthy first week of trading and, without that, we would have been looking at negative sales across the board for the month.”

A lacklustre market

Trevor Watson, executive director of valuations at leisure property company Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “The data suggests a lacklustre market in the run-up to the general election and Christmas.

“In London, operators are hoping and expecting there to be no significant impact on leisure spend as a result of the latest terror incident in the capital.

“Operators everywhere are hoping that the general election will revive consumer confidence generally in the final run-up to Christmas the new year festivities. This could lead to much-needed favourable December figures.”

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