In a year of political turmoil, it appears that many found solace in the pub. According to the latest data from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker – which analyses trends in the drinking and dining-out market – pub sales have consistently outperformed that of restaurants in recent months. Within the pub sector, drink sales have triumphed over food, creating an ideal trading environment for 'wet-led' pubs which prioritise the bar. In the meantime, though, the casual dining sector has become fiercely competitive.
Judging by the latest Coffer Peach Tracker data, pub groups had reason to celebrate over the festive season. Like-for-like sales at pubs rose 5.1 per cent, with London the strongest performing area for trading, and drinks the best sellers. Continuing the trend from 2018, restaurants trailed pubs with comparable sales growth of just 2.4 per cent.
There's no indication these trends will reverse in 2019. Karl Chessell, director of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, said figures suggested consumers are “more selective” about where they spend their money, preferring to enjoy memorable experiences – like going out for a meal or drink with family or friends – to buying presents. Consumers are also more selective about what they order, with a growing preference for 'premium' choices.