1. 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.
– 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
It 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
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
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
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
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.
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
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 protected]
FARREN.DOC 12/22/2008 10:23:30 AM REMOVING THE WRINKLE IN COSMETICS AND DRUG REGULATION: A NOTICE RATING SYSTEM AND EDUCATION PROPOSAL FOR ANTI-AGING COSMECEUTICALS Victoria Farren Anti-aging skincare products often make unrealistic anti-aging claims that mislead consumers, particularly older consumers. Because of the different premarket testing standards for cosmetics and drugs, companies often classify and market their anti-aging skincare products as cosmetics to the FDA in order to avoid more rigorous standards, yet simultaneously emphasize the drug-like qualities of the products to consumers, suggesting that these products are equivalent to drugs. The FDA allows these products, known as "cosmeceuticals," to be classified as cosmetics despite their drug-like appearances and qualities, such as high-tech anti-aging skincare products that use nanotechnology, stem cell research, or DNA. The weakness of the present classification system in handling cosmeceuticals, which fall into the gray area between clearly defined cosmetics and drugs, creates unknown health risks and confuses and misleads consumers about the actual physiological effects of these products. To resolve these two problems, the Federal Food and Drug Administration need not extensively amend its regulations of the cosmetic and drug categories. Rather, the FDA should instate a notice system paired with consumer education, as well as more carefully regulate product claims.
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