Visitors view on eating out in Ireland – Fáilte Ireland’s 2011 report

At 31% pubs came second only to restaurants (at 40%) as ‘choice of eating venue’ by overseas tourists.
At 31% pubs came second only to restaurants (at 40%) as ‘choice of eating venue’ by overseas tourists.

With pubs being the second most-frequent eating venue chosen by overseas visitors, as we progress into the tourist season pub and hotel owners can learn a lot from Fáilte Ireland’s Visitor Attitudes surveys.



23 May 2013

Share this post:



The last study of holidaymakers in which pubs figured prominently was undertaken here in 2011.

For this survey, over 7,000 overseas visitors’ views about their experiences in specific areas around the country were sought during both the shoulder and peak months of the 2011 season.

At 31% pubs came second only to restaurants (at 40%) as ‘choice of eating venue’ by overseas tourists. Hotels came third (at 30%) and cafés fourth (19%).

“The fact that ‘pubs’ equal ‘hotels’ as a place to eat show how popular they are with visitors in choosing dining options and the potential for cafés to capture visitors is clear,” stated the report.

46% of visitors rated pubs ‘very good’ for the way in which food was cooked/prepared, below restaurants at 51%, B&Bs at 58% and hotels at 56%.

52% rated pubs as ‘good’ compared to cafés (54%) and fast food/takeaways (64%). Only 2% described pubs as being poor here.

Pubs scored somewhat less highly when visitors were asked about the quality and freshness of the ingredients used, coming fourth in the ‘very good’ category with a score of 43% behind hotels and B&Bs (56%) and restaurants 50%.

Pubs scored even less impressively on offering Irish/regional dishes with only 36% giving them a ‘very good’ rating compared to 39% for restaurants, 47% for hotels and 55% for B&Bs. However pubs fared better in the ‘good’ category with 55% giving pubs a ‘good’ rating for this such that pubs topped the ‘good’ ratings above cafés (49%) and restaurants (46%).

“Pubs significantly outperform restaurants in this question as they tend to be perceived as more traditional in ambience and food offering compared to the wide diversity among restaurants,” stated the report.

At 43% pubs fell behind B&Bs (62%), hotels (56%) and restaurants (47%) in the ‘very good’ ratings for professional/efficient service.

When questioned about staff’s knowledge of the dishes they were serving, visitors only ticked the ‘very good’  box on 31% of occasions for pubs. This compares to 51% for B&Bs, 44% for hotels and 38% for restaurants.

Staff knowledge about the source of the food scored even fewer points for pubs with only 25% of visitors indicating a ‘very good’ score against B&Bs at 51%, hotels at 40%, restaurants at 35% and cafés at 27%.

“The research which informed these questions showed that visitors are often happy to learn more about dishes however they did not feel that the emphasis on local food is widespread.

“Ensuring that front-of-house staff are knowledgeable about the food they serve and actively engage with the consumers about it could help drive satisfaction in this regard.”

In terms of value-for-money, 23% of pubs got a ‘very good’ rating, putting them at the bottom of the table compared to 44% of B&Bs, 32% of hotels, 26% of restaurants and 25% of fast food/takeaway outlets. But pubs topped the table at 64% of visitors reporting ‘good’ for value-for-money above restaurants and cafés at 60%.

As for visitors’ overall experience of eating establishments in Ireland, B&Bs came top with 55% expressing a ‘very good’ rating followed by hotels at 46% and pubs & restaurants at 40%.

“Generally, visitors are very satisfied with their overall food experience in Ireland,” reported Fáilte Ireland, “As mentioned initially, the aim would be that in addition to looking at the overall score, there would be an improvement in the percentage rated ‘very good’. This will enable Ireland to build a reputation abroad for the quality of Irish food and cuisine, raising our international profile as a potential food destination.”

Ireland’s key markets are the US, the UK, France and Germany. Some 45% of US visitors gave pubs a ‘very good’ rating while 37% of UK visitors rated pubs a ‘vg’. 36% of Mainland European visitors ticked this box for overall experience.

Hotels have the highest percentage across all markets here and score particularly well in the British market. Mainland Europe rates pubs and hotels evenly and are somewhat less satisfied by the overall food experience in pubs and cafés.
The Fáilte Ireland report makes the point that the hotel, B&B and guesthouse figures may be driven by accommodation package deals which include breakfast and therefore the element of choice is somewhat restricted for some visitors.
The 2012 survey, due out around now, should prove interesting reading…


 At 31% pubs came second only to restaurants (at 40%) as ‘choice of eating venue’ by overseas tourists.

At 31% pubs came second only to restaurants (at 40%) as ‘choice of eating venue’ by overseas tourists.



Share this post:

Back to Top ↑

Shelflife Magazine