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Wetherspoon’s Leads New Food-Drink Hybrid

The eating and drinking out sectors are merging fast—and JD Wetherspoon is blazing the trail, the latest CGA Peach BrandTrack research reveals. The survey of 5,000 UK adults identifies the rising importance of food and drink to one another in consumers’ decisions to go out.

Half of those questioned said the availability of alcohol was either definitely or somewhat important when choosing where to eat out, putting pressure on restaurants to develop a compelling drinks offer. Since around half of those who eat out don’t drink alcohol, soft drinks are crucial too.

The BrandTrack research also reveals that more people now eat out than drink out. And this new elasticity appears to be driving the out-of-home eating and drinking market for everyone, with the survey showing that only 6% of adults have neither eaten or drunk out in the last six months.

The clear leader of this new food and drink hybrid is Wetherspoon. Two in five of all people have visited it for food or drink in the last six months, with usage varying little by gender, income or age. It makes it perhaps the biggest single competitor for other brands now, whether food or drink led.

Other brands attracting high levels of people with a dual purpose of eating and drinking include All Bar One and Ember and, among restaurants, Bill’s, TGI Friday’s, Brown’s, Café Rouge and Giraffe. More consumer and brand insights produced by BrandTrack research include:

•    Cocktails are a key driver of drinking out. At Revolution, Living Room and Tiger Tiger they are the main drink for around one in three people

•    The lunchtime drinking out market continues to decline. Fewer than a quarter of people have visited brands to drink out at lunchtime

•    Jamie’s Italian, TGI Friday’s and Miller & Carter are the top late-night eating-out brands, getting one in four of their food customers after 8pm

CGA Peach’s Peter Martin says: “There is massive flexibility in consumers’ eating out habits now. The barriers between day-parts are breaking down, and this research proves that eating and drinking out is no longer an either-or equation. Brands need to respond to these trends, and they would all do well to note what Wetherspoon achieves. This is a brand that has been stereotyped for too long – Wetherspoon pubs are for everyone now, underlined by the finding that no less than one in three Waitrose shoppers have eaten at a Wetherspoon’s in the last six months.”

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