Low-standard loos a major pub put-off

53% of UK adults cite 'Unclean toilets/facilities' as being the main reason for putting them off visiting a pub.
53% of UK adults cite 'Unclean toilets/facilities' as being the main reason for putting them off visiting a pub.

The 'high cost of food and drink in UK pubs' does not appear to put customers off as much as 'Unclean toilets/facilities' which tops the pub put-off list there, new research from Mintel has discovered.



11 June 2013

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Pub Visting – UK, May 2013 finds 53% of UK adults cite this as being the main reason for putting them off visiting a pub where only 35% and 24% cite the high cost of drink and food respectively, thus putting these two factors some way down the list of deterrents to visiting a pub.

‘Poor customer service’ at 47% and ‘overcrowding’ at 42% are also cited as being major deterrents.

‘Unwelcoming atmosphere’ is a significant put-off for 44% while ‘not my crowd/type of people’ figures for 29%.

‘Shabby décor’ was identified by 26% of adults so landlords need to ensure that they don’t compromise on how well-kept their facilities are, advises Mintel.

Some 1,500 adults were surveyed for the Mintel report to find that distance was a factor in just 15% of cases, indicating that many are prepared to travel to pubs/bars with unique or high quality offerings.

The ageing UK population is a threat to the UK market too, specifically in relation to the growing number of over-55s who’re the least likely to visit pubs.

“Falling numbers of 18 to 24 year-olds (the most likely pub visitors) and rising numbers of 25 to 34 year-olds who are surprisingly low visitors will provide pubs with additional problems to contend with,” believes Mintel which points out, “Some 60% of adults visit pubs for a drink in 2013, a marginal improvement over 2012 (57%), with men, ABC1s and 18 to 24 year-olds the most likely groups to do so. One in five adults are pub enthusiasts and drink in them on a weekly basis, with a strong bias towards men and 18 to 24 year-olds.

“Meanwhile, 30% of adults adopt a more disengaged approach towards drinking in pubs, doing so at a frequency of once a month or less, while 40% never do.”

Traditional features (40%) and comfortable seating (39%) are the foremost reasons for one particular choice of pub over another with men being most likely to respond to the former while comfort is of particular appeal to female pub visitors, states Mintel.

“Older visitors are most likely to respond to more practical considerations such as the availability of parking spaces and designated quiet areas, while younger consumers are most likely to view pubs as entertainment venues and be interested in activities such as live entertainment, live sports on the television and quiz nights. Meanwhile, outdoor facilities such as beer gardens and children’s play areas can play a role in appealing to pub visitors (26%), particularly adults with younger children.”

Mintel also points out, “With the costs of drinking and eating in pubs continuing to rise, try before you buy samples are a popular way of trying new drinks with little risk, appealing to 26% of pub visitors. Similarly, flights/paddles can be a good way of doing so and can also be positioned as offering value-for-money”.

The report concludes, “Pubs need to deliver on ‘experience’ and fight to justify the price difference between the on- and off-trade, or else risk seeing footfall subside further as consumers migrate to the significantly cheaper in-home channel”.



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