Food and beverage pub sales fall

The number of pubs and inns serving food fell by 2.2% in 2016 according to the Institute of Hospitality’s latest report on the industry.

Spotlight on Hospitality 2018 reveals the number of meals served by pubs was down 1.7% in the same period to around 800,000, while the total value of food and beverage sales was down 0.5% to £5.4bn. The figures buck the overall trend of UK food & beverage sales in the hospitality sector.

In total there was a drop in 2016 in the number of inns and pubs to 42,240 compared with the previous year.

Commenting on the report’s findings, contributor Peter Backman said: “Eurostat has found confidence falling since the autumn of 2015 driven by concerns about family finances and fears, perhaps unfounded but real nevertheless, about prospects for employment. Why should consumer confidence matter? Quite simply, experience shows that when consumer confidence is hit, the eating out market stops growing.

“Over the last 35 years, there have been four recessions when total meal volumes across the eating out market – commercial and non-commercial – fell for at least a year. In three of those recessions, restaurants and pubs saw their business grow because these recessions were not caused by flagging consumer confidence but were cyclical or arose as in 2008 out of a crisis in the banking sector.

“But the dotcom recession of 2001 was caused by a lack of confidence, and it saw no growth in the eating out market for four years. The danger is that if consumer confidence continues to fall, the pattern of declining restaurant sales might be repeated.”


Food & beverage sales 2016 (vs 2015) (£bn) Number of meals served by sector 2016 (vs 2015)
Restaurants 11.7 (+2.7%) 0.8 (+2.2%)
Quick service resturants 13.0 (+2.7%) 2.2 (+2.7%)
Pubs 5.4 (-0.5%) 0.8 (-0.7%)
Hotels 9.7 (+1.8%) 0.6 (+0.4%)
Leisure 4.0 (+0.7%) 0.5 (-0.1%)
Self catering 2.3 (-1.6%) 0.7 (-2,.4%)
Health Care 0.8 (-1.6%) 0.9 (-1.5%)
Education 1.4 (-1.8%) 1.2 (+0.3%)
TOTAL 48.7 (+1.6%) 8.0 (+0.5%)

Source: Institute of Hospitality