From your local boozer to the latest gastropub the pubs and bars market has changed inordinately. No longer is the industry just about two pints and a packet of crisps: food sales have become just as vital to the fortunes of pubs and bars as drink is.
With research indicating that customers are eating out more than ever before pubs are fighting harder than ever to take a share of that business and they will have to, as the 1 July introduction of the smoking ban, is predicted to change the demographic of the pub-goer.
Legislation, from licensing law changes to proposals to the abolition of happy hours to ban glasses in city centre pubs, is an increasing burden on the way that pubs trade and operators face an uphill battle to keep within the Government’s guidelines.
Not that this is deterring investors from putting cash into the pubs business. Major operators Punch Taverns, Enterprise Inns and Mitchells & Butlers are all members of the FTSE 100 with many shareholders attracted by their rising property assets. Yet despite clamouring interest no pub operator is yet to commit to a REIT (real estate investment trust) conversion and split into a property company and operating company preferring instead to continue buying and selling portfolio’s of pubs to the latest interested party.
Below is a round-up of the major stories and opinion in the pubs and bars market.