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Price gap between pub and restaurant meals closing

Published:  24 February, 2014

The gap between pub and restaurant dining is closing, as the average three course meal in a pub hits £18.67 while its restaurant equivalent slips to £20.66.

That's according to foodservice specialist Horizons biannual Menurama survey, which looks at changes across 115 eating out brands at hotels, restaurants, fast food outlets and pubs. This survey shows a three-course pub meal has jumped 7.4% while its restaurant equivalent has fallen 4.6% year-on-year.

The average price of a main course in a pub has risen 10.7% year-on-year to £9.39, while in restaurants this has fallen 3% to £10.95. The survey also shows an increased reliance on promotions to encourage footfall. Throughout the winter months, 76% of operators ran meal deals to boost trade.

This is the fourth consecutive period of price increases in pubs, which Horizons suggests is due to the sector's improving food offer, while this is the second consecutive period of price decline with pricing now back to winter 2011 levels.

When it comes to the most popular items on menus, rib eye and sirloin steaks are appearing more frequently, while rump steak is falling out of favour. There is a revival in traditional beef and chicken roasts, which are once again becoming more popular on menus. Pubs are becoming more diverse, with 37% more menus offering a gluten-free option compared to a year ago.

Horizons' director of services Nicola Knight said: "These results indicate that restaurants, in particular, are still feeling the squeeze going into the New Year and have taken fairly drastic action to keep customers coming in. Overall operators have returned to the price points of Winter 2012 from higher levels set over the summer and have also used record levels of meal deal promotions to attract customers in. It is clear from our data that the pub sector is starting to feel more confident, evident in the fact their prices have risen as they feel able to pass on rising costs to their customers."