Could improving pub food be the key to saving them from closure?
An average of 16 pubs a week are falling foul of the current economic conditions and being forced to close, while an estimated 4,000 are expected to cease trading by 2014.
Michelin-starred chef Marco Pierre White has recently claimed that the key to saving the pubs is for them to improve their food offerings in general.
It is very difficult to disagree as there is a chance the public house could soon become a restaurant with a bar, rather than the other way around. The licensed trade in general has received the occasional boost in recent times, but on the whole it has struggled to survive as customers have become more discerning.
Rather than just wanting a pint, many people now want some food to go with it.
Drinks sales alone are not enough to keep places in business under current economic conditions, so expanding services to include food is definitely the way forward.
Actions speak louder than words
Mr. White recently said he believed the “traditional pub culture can be rescued” but that many would have to act in order to do so.
This change can come in several forms, but it is most likely that developing a new food menu or recreating an existing one might be the answer.
Traditional pub food has always revolved around things that can be cooked in a simple yet appetising fashion, and that has proved to be a time-honoured tradition.
That’s not to say that the food on offer should be solely limited to being the best of British, as there are plenty of other cuisines that can tickle the taste buds.
From Chinese to Caribbean, from Italian to Sushi, the food business in the UK is experiencing a boom and it would only be right that the great British pub jumps on the bandwagon.
Many pubs have already incorporated, or are in the process of developing, new menus and restaurants capable of meeting the needs of the customer.
It goes hand in hand with the news that about 1,000 new pubs will open in 2014 according to the Good Pub Guide, with location being listed as a deciding factor.
According to the guide, the pubs that are shutting are in the wrong areas and chasing the wrong markets, suggesting that an entry into selling food might be an escape route for them as well.
With alcohol available for cheaper prices in supermarkets, it is fair to say that pubs need additional means to pull in the customers.
Food might just be the answer!
By Phil Smith