Consumers increasingly want pubs that have good food, friendly staff and a sense of individuality

Almost everyone (95%) eats in pubs, if only occasionally, and a substantial 38% eat a main meal at a pub at least once a month or more often, finds a new report from YouGov SixthSense.

The marketing intelligence report into pubs, bars and the nation’s drinking habits finds that a majority of pub-goers (55%) believe that pubs offer better value than restaurants for comparable quality. They also like the sort of food now typically on offer (48%), and they find the experience more relaxing than eating in a restaurant (45%). Additionally, over a third (37%) feel pub dining also offers a more flexible option if some in a group don’t want to eat.

It is the socially active under-25s and 25-34s who dine at pubs most often. Respectively, 50% and 43% of these age groups eat at pubs monthly or more often, compared with 38% on average.

By contrast, bar snacks are not too important, except to under-25s. One in five (20%) eat them at least weekly and 13% twice a week or more often.

Choosing where to go

In choosing which pub or bar to visit, by far the most important considerations are whether it has welcoming (28%) and efficient (26%) staff, a good atmosphere (25%), and whether the drink and food prices are acceptable.

Likewise, unfriendly staff tops the list of factors that would dissuade people from choosing or going back to a pub (44%). Cleanliness ranks second (41%), just ahead of bad toilets (40%), followed by inefficiency (39%), and prices that are too high (39%).

Pubs are changing

Over six in ten (63%) agree that pubs are no longer the heart of the community, and 40% think pubs should do more to help organise local events.

Pub-goers also feel there are too many chain pubs and bars and not enough traditional pubs (54%) nor pubs with individuality (52%).

Lager and wine are now the most common choices of alcoholic drink in pubs (both 41%), followed by spirits (27%), ale (25%), cider (23%) and cocktails (13%).

Learn more about the report

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