Pubs are making strong inroads into the territory occupied by full-service licensed restaurants, according to a new report into the pub catering market by Mintel.
According to Mintel, the average pub makes more than 25% of its turnover from meals as the number of pub diners has overtaken pub drinkers.
Pubs are becoming more like restaurants as they replace bar meals and self-service menus with table service, which now accounts for 38% of the pub catering market compared with 32% in 1999.
Mintel found that the appeal of pub grub is spread widely across the population, but it identified a core market of seven million adults who would rather go to a traditional pub than a chain pub.
They felt that only traditional pubs could offer real British food, gave bigger portions than restaurants and offered a wide menu choice.
Although Mintel found that leading branded pubs were also serving more traditional British food than before, it also noted a growing trend to restore individuality to pubs both among smaller pub companies and some large ones, such as the Spirit Group.
by Angela Frewin