Cost-of-living crisis can’t crush appetite for hospitality

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Dining out: Consumers still choose to visit hospitality sites (Credit: Getty/ SolStock)
Dining out: Consumers still choose to visit hospitality sites (Credit: Getty/ SolStock)

Related tags Food

Consumer demand for Britain’s pubs, bars and restaurants has stayed robust during months of rising household bills new research from CGA by NIQ has revealed.

CGA’s monthly Cost of Living Pulse survey showed two in five (40%) consumers went out to eat and drink at least weekly in April 2023.

This figure is unchanged from March and down by only 2% from six months ago in October 2022.

More than nine in 10 (94%) consumers went out at least once in April – 1% more than in March, and 2% more than the level of six months earlier.

In another sign of stability, just under a quarter (24%) of consumers told the Cost of Living Pulse they went out more frequently than usual in April – just 1% down from six months ago.

While 43% said they went out less often​ than they normally would, this figure has not changed since October 2022.

CGA by NIQ research and insight director Charlie Mitchell said: “Consumer confidence may be fragile, but our Cost of Living Pulse makes it clear that people remain as eager as ever to eat and drink out.

New experiences

“They know that pubs, bars and restaurants provide experiences they can’t get anywhere else, and they will give them up only as a very last resort.

“However, it’s also apparent that many consumers are watching their outgoings extremely closely, and want full value for money when they go out.

“In such a demanding and increasingly polarised market, it’s more important than ever for businesses to understand the latest consumer habits and priorities and deliver consistently memorable and good-value experiences that keep guests coming back.”

The Pulse also indicates that hospitality is still a top priority for many people’s discretionary spending. Two in five (39%) consumers said they would prioritise visits to pubs, bars and restaurants if their disposable income were to be cut further.

Recent data

This is a significantly higher number than those who would protect their spending in areas including clothing (28%), home improvements (27%) or international holidays (27%).

The survey collects views from 1,000 nationally representative On Premise consumers in Britain and Ireland, with the latest results collected in late April and early May 2023.

Its findings are in line with CGA’s sales data​ showing solid sales for pubs, bars and restaurants.

The latest edition of the Coffer CGA Business Tracker, which measures sales at Britain’s leading managed groups, reported like-for-like sales growth of 6.9% in April 2023 – a seventh consecutive month of year-on-year increases.

However, with growth well below the current high rate of inflation, sales remain down in real terms.

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