EXECUTIVE INSIGHTS | Staff Reporter, Australia

Pubs, bars have opportunity to triple off-premise visits via delivery, takeaway post-lockdown: analyst

Delivery orders currently account for less than 2% of pub visits.

Pub and bar operators have an opportunity to triple their off-premise visits via delivery and takeaway after the lockdown, according to The NPD Group insights manager for foodservice Peter Linden.

In the year to March 2020, 9.9% of all British pub visits were off-premise – up from 7.6% five years earlier, driven by delivery services and takeaway coffee.

Once the British foodservice industry’s lockdown ends, the group says there is scope to expand the range of delivery and takeaway offerings significantly to include alcoholic and other non-alcoholic beverages along with takeaway hot and cold food.

“In Q1 2020, visits to British pubs declined by over 12% from Q1 2019 with this steep drop reflecting the UK government’s lockdown introduced on March 23rd. Visits to pubs essentially halted in April and there’s no reason to expect a material change for May when the figures come through,” Linden said. “Doubling or tripling off-premise a viable ambition for some operators, and there’s also ample scope to grow on-premise orders via mobile apps.”

NPD says pubs were missing out on the boom in delivery, where digital ordering in the eating-out market has increased by 700%, rising from 95 million visits per year in the year ending March 2010 to 731 million for the year ending March 2020.

Delivery orders currently account for less than 2% of pub visits, compared to 10% for a high-street quick service restaurant. Inside a pub or bar, ordering via mobile apps also account for just 1.4% of all visits.

“Whether you are talking about consumption away from the premises, through delivery or takeaway, or enjoyment on the premises through mobile apps, they still play only a minor role in many pubs and bars,” Linden added.

“But they have all been growing rapidly and publicans and bar operators have an obvious opportunity to use technology to build post-lockdown business. But any moves to stimulate sales channels or add new ones in the current environment must be complemented by careful attention to cleanliness, health and safety.”

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