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Freshness, diversity and market responsiveness are needed to fight back against the 'one size fits all' large chain menus

According to Horizons recent 2016 predictions, independents face a tough year against large chains


  • Horizon predicts menu prices will remain stable – with little movement on prices operators can charge on their menus it will be even more important that food operators understand (accurately) their dish costs. Stable food profits will only be achieved through marginal gains of better buying practices (no nipping to the corner shop) and proper dish specifications. Reducing portions (unless already too large) to compensate margin would be a foolish strategy – as consumers will be looking even more for value for money.


  • Horizon predicts growth amongst group operators/ chains and a drop in independent operators – this is a ‘plus’ for all existing independent operators to fight back against the standardised menus of chain operators – keep your menu fresh, imaginative and incorporate excitement and change with an amazing specials board


  • Horizon predicts a blurring of eating out formats – This is the biggie – if Pret have introduced sit down dining, Stabucks now have a Covent Garden wine bar, this shows true evolution. I know Waitrose in Somerset trialled a deli Wine Bar offer and heard this week that a Bristol crematorium now have an alcohol license! These changes require a complete shift in thinking – you can buy a sandwich at a garage, a book shop, a chemist, a petrol station – you cant buy books, prescription drugs and toiletries, petrol or indeed bury a loved one at the pub!


To succeed you need to ditch the limited view that primarily food and alcohol are all pubs do. Its time to fight back and look at how you could diversify your retail offer!


I predict the rise of ‘healthy’ in 2016 veggie, vegan, super foods in pubs in 2016 – they are all on the up in specialist delis, cafes and grocery stores; but traditionally not a pub classic – maybe it’s time to rethink?

Especially in the light of recent revision on alcohol units’ consumption guidelines that will make some drinkers more inclined to switch habits and follow a so-called ‘healthy life-style’!


Read Horizon report here:


Read PMA comment here:



Posted by on: January 12th, 2016

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