Peach Report

Growing optimism among leaders of restaurant and pub groups

26 February, 2012


A quarter of bosses say they intend to reduce discounting activity

It will be another tough year, but Britain’s best pub and restaurant operators are feeling optimistic, according to the results of the annual Peach Business Leaders’ Survey. Nearly three quarters of bosses are either fairly (62%) or very (10%) optimistic about their own business prospects for 2012.

However, this proportion is higher than the numbers feeling optimistic about the market as a whole, but here, too, just over half of leaders are fairly (47%) or very (4%) optimistic about the current year.

Both findings are a marked increase on the proportions feeling this way at the same time last year. Only one in four is pessimistic about the coming 12 months.

The views were gathered by Peach Report via online interviews with 71 senior executives in operating companies of all sizes and from all parts of the country during January. Over half were either chief executives or chairmen.

“The heads of our industry could be forgiven for feeling downbeat about 2012,” said Peach’s chief executive Peter Martin. “But the UK’s eating and drinking out sector is nothing if not resolute, and while they are all too aware of all the challenges, its leaders are rolling up their sleeves to tackle them in a determined mood. For most, 2012 is a glass half full rather than half empty.”

However, leaders believe there will still be pressure on consumer spending and frequency of going-out. Two in five (42%) think spend per head will decrease slightly or greatly because of the economy. More than half (54%) think frequency of visits will decline.

On the emotive issue of discounting and vouchers, the survey reveals a desire to rein them in. A quarter of bosses say they intend to reduce discounting activity, while only 6% will increase levels in their own business. However, there is less confidence that the market as a whole will follow suit. Overall, 34% think discounting market-wide will increase this year, 43% stay the same and 20% decrease.

Other highlights
•    Optimism generally higher inside the M25.
•    Younger and smaller companies are the most optimistic, with pub groups generally more upbeat than restaurant chains.
•    However, 42% think consumer spend per head will decrease slightly or greatly this year, while ore than half (54%) think frequency of visits will decline.
•    Consumer confidence is the biggest single challenge for leaders
•    Delivering a clearly differentiated offer and strong brand identity are chief operational challenges
•    Staffing issues will be given more prominence this year
•    Digital marketing will increase in importance in 2012
•    Discounting will be less important – with 24% saying they plan to reduce discounting activity
•    Fast food, pub restaurants and premium casual dining are tipped for growth
•    Street food is seen as the hottest emerging trend
•    The market is split on the benefits of the Olympics – with more positivity coming from within London
•    Leaders are confident in their skills to deliver quality food and customer service – but less so when it comes to marketing and technology

For more detailed coverage of the findings, subscribers should log-in and go to: Growing optimism among leaders of restaurant and pub groups

The full survey report, with tables, is available free to Peach Report subscribers, or for £140 (plus VAT) for non-subscribers, from Peach Factory. To obtain a copy contact Christine Martin, call 01704 550383 or email christine@peach-factory.com

 

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