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Festive revellers curb their food spending

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year; however, it was not all joy and celebrations in the UK’s restaurant industry in 2017.

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According to business tracker Coffer Peach, like for like sales dropped by 0.1 per cent for the six-week period prior to Christmas. Breaking this down, restaurant sales fell by one per cent, although pubs fared slightly better with a 0.6 per cent rise in food sales.

Coffer Peach follows branded chain restaurants and pubs managed by a parent company rather than a tenant landlord. Its data suggests that this year people were more inclined to go out for drinks than for a meal.


Despite lots of negative headlines across business press, the news does not appear to be all doom and gloom. Drink sales rose by 1.8 per cent; therefore, while food was down 1.4 per cent, it is not the complete disaster many are hailing. It is a competitive industry and there will be challenges ahead, but they are workable.

There are regional variations, with the most notable difference between the performance of pubs and restaurants in London. Pub turnover here rose by 1.5 per cent, while casual restaurants’ turnover dropped 2.6 per cent.

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Coffer Peach tracks 37 companies for sales growth, including big names such as Pizza Express and growing firms such as Wagamama. Total sales are up slightly; however, when new space is taken into account, the figures take a downturn.

Consumer demand

There is work restaurants can do to make themselves more enticing to potential customers, such as reviewing their menus. Looking at their efficiency might also help, as may checking their kitchens are in top order. Companies such as https://www.247cateringsupplies.co.uk/ can advise on the latest commercial catering supplies and make kitchens run as smoothly as possible.

For more information on the likely big news in food and dining this year, check out the predictions from Under Fine Wraps.

We can expect lots of talk about healthy and clean eating, so any restaurant that can reflect this in its menu, at the right price, will be on the right track to reverse the slump in sales. Low carbs have been important for a few years, and this year looks to be increasingly about low sugar.

Next time you plan drinks after work, consider booking a table for a meal.
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