Pubs become UK’s favourite place to eat out

Eating out in pubs has soared in recent years helping the sector to become the UK's biggest channel for food sales, according to a new report.

Research from CGA Strategy shows that food sales in British pubs totalled £7.5 billion over the last 12 months, a rise of 4.2 per cent on the previous year and a rate of growth that is forecast to continue until 2017.

It means that the value of food sold in pubs is now double that of restaurants and bigger than any other single sales channel in the eating out market.

The rise of food sales could also mean that the UK's pubs become an increasingly important source of chef recruitment over the coming years.

CGA Strategy's Scott Elliott commented: "Our work charts the epic rise of food in pubs from pork scratchings and pickled eggs to the dynamic, diverse and quality-driven landscape evident today.

"Despite the recession, which has put significant pressure on the licensed trade and caused closure rates in wet-led pubs and sports and social clubs to spike, food-led outlets remain remarkably resilient. It seems that the nation increasingly sees the pub as a first choice for eating out."

Main courses provide by far the biggest source of food revenue for pubs, valued at £6.2 billion a year.

The research revealed that just one in four pub diners go on to order a dessert and only one in five opt for a starter.

And the nation's favourite pub dish was found to be the traditional roast dinner, worth a total of £876 million to the pub industry, or the equivalent of 12 per cent of overall food sales, with steak and burgers also proving popular.

Given the popularity of the roast dinner, it is perhaps unsurprising that the study also revealed that Sunday is the key trading session for food-led pubs, with 22 per cent of food sales happening on the last day of the week.

Berkeley Scott is a specialist recruitment agency in the food industry