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Mccainfoodservice.co.uk1. Executive summary
2. Business/market background – the challenge for pubs
3. The importance of food
4. The role of pubs and pub grub
5. Pub target audiences
6. The opportunity – starters & side orders
7. Starters & sides
8. Side orders
10. The opportunity
Pubs and bars are facing an increasingly tough time as Together with menu familiarity, this means that side orders their long-term decline accelerates. Yet, the great British are often overlooked. pub is potentially missing out on a number of incremental profit opportunities that McCain Foods estimates could be Chips may seem commonplace but are actually critical worth more than £400m to a beleaguered industry.
in determining customer satisfaction: most people would never return to an outlet that sold bad chips and 85% This report looks at some of the ways in which pubs can (IPOS MORI) say bad chips would ruin their meal. It is utilise food to increase incremental income.
important that operators understand the value that chips can provide and by ensuring the basic requirements are Wet-led pubs have been particularly hard hit in recent met, for example matching the correct style of chips with times, closing at the rate of around 30 per week, whereas different dishes, they can provide a point of difference for for dry-led pubs the figure is around five per week. The the pub and help increase consumer spend.
emphasis for pubs is increasingly on food to survive, and more consumers now go to the pub for a meal than for a The element of "theatre' is often neglected by pubs when serving food, but imaginative presentation always adds value in the consumer's eyes. Theatre can help the While in many respects pubs are now competing operator to develop a house style to suit his customer successfully with restaurants and quick service/takeaway base, and different forms of theatre will suit different outlet operators, there is still a huge opportunity; and with an styles. increasingly sophisticated consumer, pubs need to work hard to maintain or improve their competitive position. Whether positioned as starters, side orders, snacks or combo ingredients, there are a number of products that Pubs can build on the distinctive character of pub dining give the pub operator the opportunity to differentiate the – in essence a "home from home" experience, different outlet, improve customer satisfaction and generate extra from both the functional environment of fast food and the turnover and profit. formality of restaurant dining. The typical pub is relaxed, comfortable and unthreatening, a welcoming setting for any kind of socialising. Each of the core audiences – young adults, families and older adults – has its particular requirements and priorities in terms of ambience, service and food, for which the operator must cater. McCain Foods research has identified an important opportunity area within pub food, in starters and side orders. These are suitable for a wide range of eating occasions. However, pubs have a long way to go to fully exploit the opportunities: only £363m of starters are sold in UK pubs (CREST/Caterlyst). Starters and sides in pubs are frequently overlooked by consumers, or perceived as relatively poor quality or as unchanging and boring. Consumers need to be tempted by contemporary recipes and an interesting variety of product styles/presentation – things that sound and look a bit different. This approach helps the pub operator to enhance the consumer offering and to develop a house style to suit the customer base. Interesting starters and sides improve customer satisfaction while adding to profit and delivering ease of handling at back of house. Pub customers enjoy the idea of side orders, but expect a basic accompaniment to be included in the meal construct. Business/market background
– the challenge for pubs 2
In the current difficult economic times, businesses of all At the same time, supermarkets have provided increasingly types are looking for new or additional ways to bolster low cost alcohol to accompany and reinforce the trend turnover and boost their bottom line. This is all the towards home entertainment. more relevant for businesses that are dependent on discretionary spending, as consumers look to cut back In addition to these fundamental long term factors, the expenditure on non essentials in response to current last few years have seen the impact of the smoking ban, pressure on household budgets. Two studies by Deloitte increasing taxes and the drop in consumer spending in 2010 have suggested that eating out, going to the pub during and since the recession, creating what Dominic and socialising generally are areas where consumers are Stammers of the accountancy firm BDO calls a ‘perfect likely to consider cutting back.
storm' for the pub industry. The consequences are vividly shown in the sharply increased rate of decline in the The on-trade in the UK has long been a struggling sector: numbers of pubs during 2007 – 2010. according to the British Beer and Pub Association, since 1980 the number of pubs in the UK has fallen by 17,000, from 69,000 to 52,000. And alarmingly the rate of loss is increasing rather than slowing down. During the period 1980 – 2006 numbers had been falling at a fairly constant rate, averaging a loss of 0.65% per year. However, in the last 4 years (2007 – 2010) the rate of loss has leapt to 3% per year and this new trend shows no sign of abating.
The main long term underlying factor is, of course, the huge change that has taken place in the consumer leisure market. Developments in technology have made the home environment an increasingly important focus for leisure and entertainment. The importance of food
3It has long been recognised that food has become a vital The statistics for eating out show that pubs have a huge
success factor for pubs. The traditional wet-led offering market to aim for. According to research from Allegra has been particularly exposed to the price competition Strategies, informal eating out is a £40.3 billion market from supermarkets. Consequently wet-led pubs are that breaks down as: closing at a much faster rate than dry-led pubs: 34 per week, compared with just 5 per week (Mintel).
• £17.1bn lunch • £16.7bn dinner Research from Caterlyst estimates the total value of the • £3.0bn mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks pub market in terms of food and drink at £7.4bn, with pubs • £2.1bn breakfast serving 785m meals per year.
• £1.4bn late night eating The larger operators have developed their food-led And pubs nowadays are represented at a competitive offering with brands such as Harvester, Weatherspoon, level in all day parts: Beefeater and Brewers Fayre leading the way. Day parts: % of
Quick Service/ Restaurants With the increasing emphasis on food in pubs and the relative failure of the wet-led offering, the industry has reached the point where more consumers now go to the pub for a meal than for a drink (72% v. 63% respectively, according to Mintel, IPOS/MORI).
Research from TNS shows that, in many respects, pubs are now competing successfully with their closest rivals in the food business, the restaurants and quick service restaurant/takeaway operators. The huge value of the market reflects the fact that eating out has become a way of life for UK consumers. The chart The table below shows that the average bill for a meal below shows frequency of eating out. Nearly everyone in pubs is as high as the average bill in restaurants, at eats out at some time, and 70% eat out once a month or £22, and not surprisingly far higher than the average more: QRS/Takeaway bill. With somewhat lower numbers of seats and staff than the average restaurant, pubs bills can actually generate rather more income per seat and more income per employee. Pub bills are of course boosted by the alcohol component, and if alcohol is stripped out the average pub bill is considerably lower than the average restaurant bill – suggesting that pubs still have quite some way to go in pure food terms. Quick Service/ Restaurants RestaurantsAverage bill size More importantly, almost half of all consumers (45%) now eat out several times a month or more often, while 25% Average bill amount per seat eat out on a weekly basis or more often. Average bill amount per employee With this increasingly sophisticated consumer, pubs need to work hard to improve or even maintain their competitive Alcohol % of sales Average bill amount excl. alcohol The role of pubs
and pub grub
Despite all the alternatives on offer, pubs still have a lot The quality of pub food generally is not seen as "gastro", going for them in terms of: but there is an acceptance that the pub menu breadth, good value prices and speed of service cannot be delivered • the pub experience from "scratch cooking". There is an expectation, though, that rural/Independent pubs will offer better quality food and more interesting options. There is also a distinct trend The pub experience
towards chain restaurants appearing to be independent, applying the same ‘independent' principals which appeal There is a distinctive character to pub dining that to consumers.
consumers appreciate – in essence it is a "home from home" experience, different from both the functional environment of fast food and the formality of restaurant The typical pub is relaxed, comfortable and unthreatening; the atmosphere is welcoming to all customers and provides the right setting for engaging with others on a social basis.
Many consumers see pubs as providing a direct substitute for home cooking, both for times when the consumer is unwilling to cook and for those (young people and men) who effectively cannot cook for themselves, while the relaxed atmosphere makes the pub the most natural alternative to the home for spending time together with friends, partner, family or business colleagues.
Other triggers for pub dining are obviously when drinking (alcohol) is a prime consideration and when drawn by promotional nights/events, such as curry night, Sunday Pub grub
It is also encouraging that, despite the competing
attractions of fast food and restaurant dining, "Pub Grub" remains a popular option across a wide audience. This is based on a variety of factors. Pub menus generally provide simplicity, but with a broad enough range to cater for different tastes and occasions. The fact that the pub menu is fairly predictable is, for the most part, something that is appreciated! Pub food is seen as inherently good value, often supported with promotions that make for even Pubs also deliver the food offer in a distinctive way, with great serving flexibility (different types of meal, at different times, catering for different individual requirements) plus speed of service (from order to finish of meal). For most food customers the smoking ban has improved the eating Pub target audiences
The pub environment also has the merit of being suitable For the older adults the pub is not so much "my kitchen" as for a wide variety of different audiences and different "a place to meet and eat". Satisfaction among this target types of occasion. The core audiences are young adults, audience is high.
families and older adults. It is also accepted by consumers that some food is simply Each of these audiences has its own particular better to go out for eg Sunday Roast.
requirements and priorities, which the pub manager needs to be aware of and cater for in terms of ambience, service and the food offering.
Young adults may think primarily of drinking but also in terms of the food offer they particularly see the pub as "my kitchen', a perfect solution for when they do not feel like cooking or for those who cannot cook. They appreciate pub food for its value, the breadth of the menus which offer "something for everyone", and the relaxed atmosphere. They expect special offers, fast service (food in 15 minutes max) and the pub staples – pie, chips, lasagne, curry. Satisfaction among this target audience is high. For families, there is an element of being stressed, and the visit is not necessarily a "special time". Visits for pub meals are planned rather than spontaneous and typically at a local rather than further afield. Again the pub food option is typically seen as "home from home/my kitchen" when you do not feel like cooking yourself. Eating at the pub is also "time out" for the family, a good solution for hungry kids that is relatively cheap with lots of choice.
They look for a kids menu, fast service (food in 15 minutes max) and the staple pub dishes, and like the predictability of pub food. They also want comfort and their own space in which to relax. Pubs are generally considered an acceptable choice for family meals.
Older adults typically eat at the pub in a happy frame of mind, looking for a leisurely experience and some "atmosphere". Social interaction is a key factor, together with a desire for a change of scene. They are also motivated by the value and choice typically offered by the In common with other target audiences, they want fast service (food in 15 minutes max) and the staple pub dishes; they are also motivated by special offers and "Specials" on the menu. Comfort is a more important consideration for them than it is for young adults. 6 The opportunity
– starters & side orders
McCain Food's research has identified an important opportunity area within pub food, in starters and side Starters and sides
orders, which is currently not being fully exploited.
What prompts consumers to buy starters and sides in pubs? Dishes that are suitable for starters and side orders have Generally they are prompted by an inherent flexibility which makes them appealing for a wide range of eating occasions. Starters and sides are • Wanting a starter with their meal relevant for all types of meal occasion except breakfast: • Wanting nibbles to share over drinks • Sometimes it is at the suggestion of bar staff • £17.1bn lunch • Or by hearing/seeing what other customers are ordering • They can be tempted by what they see on the menu • £16.7bn dinner • And obviously there is the appeal of the specific • £3.0bn mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks product – either in terms of the name of the dish, the recipe or • £2.1bn breakfast • £1.4bn late night eating • £38.2bn total excluding breakfast The most common barriers to trial are: Source: Allegra Strategies • The presence of starters and sides is simply not noticed in outlet (in the menu or on table) However, pubs have a long way to go to fully exploit the • Quality perception is often poor, in terms of the how opportunities available. Taking starters specifically, the the dish itself is perceived, or the particular ingredients total value of starters sold in UK pubs is currently only employed £363m; and the vast majority of meal occasions in pubs – • Starters and sides in pubs tend to be seen as boring/ 71% – do not include starters (CREST/Caterlyst). unchanging • Product styles and presentation are not tempting What can increase consumer interest in pub starters and • First and foremost they need to be tempted • Contemporary recipes are important to catch the eye and the imagination – things that sound a bit different from the standard offerings • Together with a variety of product styles/presentation • Good value is obviously essential • They should be easy to eat with a drink/while standing up – e.g. ‘hand to mouth nibbles' For the pub operator, there are good reasons to take an increased interest in starters and sides: • Starters and sides provide products that are operationally functional, with ease of handling at back of • They deliver an additional purchase, a trade up on the meal choice not a meal compromise • They are a value adding option that can increase customer satisfaction at the same time as adding to profit • Contemporary recipes/product styles enhance the operator's consumer offering • They offer flexibility of preparation together with the opportunity to personalise the presentation "in outlet", enabling the operator to develop house style to suit his Source: Cog Research Side orders
Pub customers enjoy the idea of side orders for dining out occasions, and expect them to feature on pub menus. However, when a meal is being ordered, menu familiarity and predictability can often mean that side orders are overlooked. In any case consumers do assume that there will be a basic veg and potato/chips/rice accompaniment included in the meal construct, i.e. included in the meal price. Diners are particularly unlikely to order additional Hence side orders are most often used to bulk out a light meal such as a salad, sandwich or wrap.
In practice, menu options that are positioned as side orders are often used for other purposes, e.g. as an The element of "theatre' is often neglected by pubs, where individual starter, for sharing as starters, or as a nibble food is frequently served only in the most conventional with drinks, so to a large extent starters and sides are and straightforward type of presentation. interchangeable. But consumers are also greatly influenced by the One particular area needs special mention, and that is presentation, and a more imaginative presentation always chips. While chips are the most common side dish in pubs, adds value in the consumer's eyes. This is something and normally included in the price of the main dishes, they that consumers regularly see in TV food programmes and are nevertheless something that pub operators need to something that they increasingly experience in restaurant take very seriously. Research has found that over two dining. thirds of people would never return to an outlet that sold bad chips and 85% of people said that bad chips would The same product will be seen quite differently when ruin their meal.
presented (e.g.) on an unusual shaped dish with a separate bowl for the sauce, as opposed to everything McCain Foods supplies chips which offer reliable quality, being simply dumped on a plate. Presentation can also be as well as saving on preparation time and delivering linked to specific events. For example, for St Patrick's Day, a consistent size that cooks evenly and enables good serving chips or wedges in pint glasses with a St Patrick's portion control. Day themed paper lining creates a point of difference for the pub and is also a great hand-held option for customers Better still, McCain Foods offers no less than 14 different on a busy day where table space is at a premium. styles of chips, enabling operators to match different styles to different dishes, e.g.
As well as adding value, theatre can also be engineered to directly improve profitability – for example, if chips • Thin Cut or Crinkle with kids menus are served in newspaper, fewer chips are required to fill • Julienne with burgers the same amount of space, so a greater profit can be • Southern Fries Lattice with sandwiches • Gourmet with steak Starters and sides lend themselves to theatre and also • Traditional with fish benefit particularly from imaginative presentation. Offering a twist on the classic fried chips as a side dish or Presentation can also help the operator to develop as part of a main can provide a point of difference for the a house style to suit his customer base. It is important pub and help increase consumer spend.
for the operator to understand the pub's customer base and how best to position the pub and its food offering. Depending on the customer base and the chosen style of the outlet, different forms of theatre will be required to achieve the best results.
Introducing specific products onto the menu can lead The combo opportunity
to increased customer satisfaction, leading to profits. For example adding Mozzarella Melters and selling two The combo or sharing platter is already a popular choice portions per day, the return can be more than £1,600pa in some pubs, but could be further exploited across the for an individual pub.
By adding a range of these type of products for example The concept of sharing food obviously fits well with the onion rings and chilli cheese bites, based on selling two social engagement role of the pub. Research shows portions per day, can add a return of almost £6,000 per that eating out facilitates relationships and there is an pub per year, a total of £300m across the industry (McCain emotional impact in the act of sharing. The sharing platter also has a contemporary feel, consistent with the current trend to grazing menus and Chips are obviously a staple item of pub grub, and tapas culture. Already as many as 20% of adults say that often included in the main meal price, although there is they prefer to share starters rather than order their own, also consumption of chips as a nibble with drinks. New and 29% say they are ordering more sharing dishes than products such as McCain Sweet Potato Fries, add value before. The trend is general, but rather more evident to the menu and encourage additional consumption as among women than men (31% v 27%), and in the North well as trading up. somewhat more so than in the South (33% v 26%). There is an important element of theatre too – the sharing platter Research (MMR) shows that sweet potatoes are a more gets people talking and looks like something different mainstream food than expected. Awareness and trial of – with benefit to the pub atmosphere and the dining sweet potatoes is high: experience for customers. • 95% of respondents are aware of sweet potatoes • 61% have tried In terms of value and profitability, the sharing platter is something of an each way bet for the pub operator. On Among those who have tried, acceptance and repeat trial the one hand, sharing dishes are increasingly seen by consumers as a way to reduce meal spend, hence • 80% of respondents who have tried them would eat a highly relevant option for the operator to offer in the again (= 49% of all respondents) present difficult economic climate. On the other hand, • 50% of those who have tried are currently serving/ sharing dishes can also actually add to the value of food eating sweet potatoes (= 30% of all respondents) sales, for example four diners might well share a platter In total, 71% of consumers are open to the idea of sweet as a starter when they would not otherwise have ordered potatoes – the 49% who have tried them and would starters at all.
eat again plus the 22% who are aware and open to the idea of trying. Hence although sweet potatoes are more mainstream than might have been expected, there is still a huge opportunity for further growth. McCain Sweet Potato Fries are a genuine opportunity to increase interest in the menu and generate incremental sales. Selling just two portions per day delivers the operator around £2,000 per year in profit. Of course product acceptability is crucial, and in fact sweet potatoes work extraordinarily well as chips, and work well with a wide range of mains – steaks, lamb, ribs, salmon, tuna, chicken, pork, burgers and veggie wraps. For the pub operator they offer a value added option that can more easily be sold as a side order (compared with potato chips, which are typically part of the meal) or as an up-grade from regular chips. Pubs need to constantly improve their food performance. Starters and sides orders are an area where there is considerable scope to provide new and more tempting options for the consumer.
Simple additions to the menu can generate instant returns. McCain Foods research has identified that more than £400m can be generated by increasing the focus on food and extending menu options.
Starters and sides are generally high margin products, which allowing the operator to deliver a more imaginative Whether positioned as starters, side orders, snacks or combo ingredients, introducing new products gives the pub operator the opportunity to differentiate the outlet, improve customer satisfaction and generate extra turnover The UK pub trade has been suffering for several years, but the McCain Foods pub report shows that some of the revenue that has been lost in recent years can be recouped by taking a few simple steps.
For more information please contact McCain Foodservice Tel: 0800 146 573 (GB) Email: email@example.com Web: mccainfoodservice.co.uk
1. Executive summary2. Business/market background – the challenge for pubs3. The importance of food4. The role of pubs and pub grub5. Pub target audiences6. The opportunity – starters & side orders7. Starters & sides8. Side orders9. Theatre10. The opportunity11. Conclusions Pubs and bars are facing an increasingly tough time as Together with menu familiarity, this means that side orders