UK drinkers choose pubs and restaurants over bars

14th September, 2020 by Owen Bellwood

Consumers in the UK favoured returning to pubs and restaurants over bars and late-night venues in August, according to data from CGA.

Two thirds of UK consumers visited bars, pubs and other on-trade venues in August

According to the latest edition of CGA’s Brand Track report, 65% of UK adults visited pubs, bars, restaurants or other venues in August. In July, the figure was 45%.

Based on a survey of 5,000 UK consumers, the report found that 83% of consumers visited restaurants, 80% visited pubs, 56% of those polled said they had visited a bar and 37% said they had been to late-night venues.

Charlie Mitchell, research and insight director at CGA, said: “It’s positive that so many people have been back to pubs, restaurants and other venues since lockdown, and encouraging that they have been reassured about safety while doing so.

“However, our research highlights that it has been much harder for bars and the late-night sector to win people back, and the fact remains that a third of consumers have not returned at all. With Eat Out to Help Out at [an] end, restrictions on socialising mounting and the risk of more local lockdowns rising, it’s clear that operators are going to have to work very hard to attract people through the doors this autumn.”

‘Best week of sales’ 

For the week ending 5 September, CGA reported that drinks sales were just 10% down on the equivalent week in 2019.

The bank holiday on 31 August saw an 86% sales increase for drinks year-on-year due to a “last-minute rush to take advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out discount”, which offered drinkers 50% off food and soft drinks up to £10 (US$13) per head during August.

The bank holiday also helped the spirits category post its best week of sales since the on-trade reopened, down just 12% compared to 2019.

Pubs outperformed restaurants during the period and posted that drinks sales were down 6% compared with 2019, while drinks sales in restaurants dropped 17%.

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