Consumers prioritise support for pubs

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Essential part of life: research shows consumers prioritise support for on-trade despite economic pressures (Credit: Getty/SolStock)
Essential part of life: research shows consumers prioritise support for on-trade despite economic pressures (Credit: Getty/SolStock)

Related tags Finance Zonal Cga ukhospitality

Almost two thirds of consumers believe pubs play a vital role in their local community and continue to prioritise on-trade visits despite economic pressures.

New research from hospitality technology firm Zonal revealed eating and drinking out remains a priority for British consumers, with 65% of the 5,000 adults surveyed stating it is crucial to their social life, rising to 71% for those aged 65 and over.

The latest GO Technology report, created in partnership with CGA by NIQ and UKHospitality (UKH), also showed 64% of participants believe hospitality venues play an important role in their local community, rising to 71% for consumers visiting these establishments weekly.

When asked their main reasons for visiting the on-trade, half of those surveyed said it was to socialise with family and friends while 44% would do so to celebrate a special occasion.

More than two-fifths (41%) said they viewed eating and drinking out as a treat while 21% did so to create new memories or try new food and drink and 20% visited the on-trade to relax.

Essential part of life 

The research also highlighted the importance of consistency and delivering the fundamentals, with the top three motivating factors to ensure return visits being the quality of food, great service, and the experience being value for money.

CGA by NIQ ​director hospitality operators and food EMEA, Karl Chessell, said: “This research is a timely reminder of hospitality’s special place in people’s hearts.

“Eating and drinking out isn’t just a nice-to-have but an essential part of life, even — or perhaps especially — during a cost-of-living crisis.

“Spending may have been muted for some people in recent years, but as inflation hopefully eases and they start to feel more cash in their pockets, we can be optimistic that it will pick up as 2024 goes on.”

The collaborative report also revealed 74% of participants felt the hospitality sector needed and deserved more support from the Government, with 72% wanting to support the industry themselves with regular visits.

Creativity and commitment 

This comes as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt ignored the sector’s repeated pleas for a reduction to VAT or reformation of business rates in last week’s Spring Budget​, announcing instead an extension to the freeze on alcohol duty, which many felt would not directly benefit pubs.

Moreover, figures released on Wednesday 13 March by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the sector had made one of the largest upwards contributions to economic growth​ in January this year.

UKH​ chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We can clearly see from this new research the support and affection people have for hospitality and that they recognise the vital role venues play at the heart of their communities and high streets.

“We have proven time and time again with the right support in place, even when times are at their toughest, we have the creativity and commitment to invest in local areas, create jobs and drive growth right across the country.

“So, our message to Government, backed by three-quarters of the public, is to support hospitality or risk more businesses having to close their doors.”

Related topics Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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