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How pubs can capitalise on changes in high tempo occasions

With high-tempo occasions in Britain’s On Premise evolving fast, CGA by NIQ’s PubTrack service reveals what pubs and suppliers can do to succeed in this space.

The PubTrack solution—which combines CGA’s exclusive Outlet Indexand in-depth consumer research for an expert holistic view of the pub landscape—shows the sector has been resilient lately, with market-beating sales growth despite inflationary pressures. However, there have been significant shifts in pub-going habits, including a move towards earlier dayparts for high tempo visits. CGA’s OPUS data indicates that nearly three quarters (71%) of high-tempo consumers go out in the post-8pm period, but this is down by five percentage points year-on-year. By contrast, numbers have fallen by only twopercentage points in the 5pm-to-8pm slot, and risen by two and four points in the mid-afternoon and lunchtime periods respectively.  


This trend has worked against some late-night channels like bars and nightclubs, whose share of high-tempo occasions has fallen in the last two years. But it’s played to the advantage of pubs, which can be ideal venues for afternoon and early-evening occasions. Nearly half (45%) of high-tempo guests say they now typically visit drinking pubs for these occasions—up by four percentage points since mid-2023. 


PubTrack’s insights give suppliers and operators a deep understanding of new pub behaviours, and help them adapt strategies to capture more high-tempo occasions. Experiences, activities and entertainment are important factors, and seven in ten (70%) consumers say they would be more likely to visit a pub if it offered these things. There is interest in a wide range of activities in pubs—not just traditional ones like pub quizzes and sport screenings, but more energetic ones like karaoke nights and live DJ sets. 


PubTrack also points to ways that pubs can persuade people to stay for longer. A fifth (19%) of consumers say a lively atmosphere would encourage them to stay out later, and live music, drinks deals and events can all help here. However, a similar number (21%) of consumers say a calm atmosphere would lead them to stay later.  

CGA client director Dani Rowlands , who presented PubTrack data at the recent Restaurant Show in Birmingham, said: “Changes in people’s drinking-out habits have given pubs some great opportunities to capture more sales high-tempo occasions across multiple dayparts. However, it’sclear from our PubTrack data that people on these visits have many and varied needs, and pubs and suppliers that want to increase dwell time have to strike a difficult balance in atmosphere. Winning here requires expert and precise knowledge of what consumers want, and our PubTrack service is the ideal bedrock for effective strategies in the high-tempo space.” 



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