Adapting and developing pubs for the future

As the market eases from the cost of living pressures, operators are likely to look to utilise their space in better ways. A legacy from the pandemic is the opportunity for outdoor dining in pubs and bars. This provides opportunities for things like pop-up BBQs, pizza ovens, street food shacks, and space for events which are great for driving the community to your pub. This investment in estates over the next year will mean that there will be an array of differentiated experiences for customers to drive loyalty and sales per visit.

Targeting different target groups with your food offer

It’s important to have an offer that is flexible and tailors your offer to different demographics you have opportunities with throughout the day.

Opportunities in the day

Firstly, there is a big opportunity to make pubs more family orientated. There has been a lot of support for British pubs in recent years and lots of pubs have started to benefit from this by making more family orientated offers. For example, could you host family days like movie nights for kids in the school holidays? This is a great way to capture trade in the day which is a time when pubs tend to struggle. Off the back of this, there is a great chance to appeal to local “mummy groups” who may meet elsewhere during the week. It’s important to have a good coffee shop offer available to capture this loyal audience though!

There is also an opportunity to capture the working from home market too. By providing working space during the day with plugs and WiFi, this provides you the opportunity to do deals for food and drink to entice those who want a change of working scenery. A great way to get people from the local community through the doors at the quieter times during the week!

Evenings and weekend pub visits

According to the Lumina Intelligence Eating and Drinking Panel, 2023, people aged 55-64 are understood to be the most lucrative age group to target because they are the age group who go to pubs the most and they spend the most too. The same research says that people’s main driver when going to a pub is its value. With less disposable income for customers, it’s important to differentiate your offer to drive value.

Offering set meals deals for things like bottomless brunches, drink making masterclasses, live music, comedy, DJs and entertainment at the weekends are great for extending customers stay and increasing their spend.

pubs of the future

Graeme Warwick, Head of Food at Brewhouse and Kitchen

The UK’s largest Brewpub where every pub has a micro-brewery on-site which pairs beers with their classically inspired dishes on the menu.

  • Drive premiumisation through having a unique selling point

    “It’s vital for pubs to be able to have a unique selling point as it is a very competitive market. In the past we’ve been known for the brewery side of things, but we are really driving the kitchen side of things at the moment, so we’re looking to develop this with unique offers that make us stand out. One thing we’ve recently started doing to add a uniqueness to our menu is making our own bread on-site for all of our sandwiches. Our different flavoured focaccias we bake on-site are something we are particularly proud of!”

  • Vibrant vegetables

    Using seasonal, vibrant and quality vegetables can help you add more value to your menu.

    “One thing we have started doing recently is improving and increasing the portion size of vegetables on our Sunday roast menu to provide better value for money
    We’ve found that this is a good way of exceeding customer expectations and increasing spend in a difficult economic period.”

    “Utilising vegetables instead of meat when increasing portion sizes is a healthier option for customers and a more profitable option for pub operators too. Trending flavours and colourful vegetables like braised red cabbage, winter kale and squash are ingredients our chef team love working with as they add different flavour profiles and they are brilliant at making dishes look ‘instagrammable’. This gives us a great point of difference to your average Sunday roast!”

  • Menu add-ons are great for increasing customer spend

    “We look to create upselling opportunities throughout our menu by offering the chance to include add-ons. For example, we offer a “go dirty” upgrade for fries and a “boost your bowl” option for add-ons for salads and rice bowls which are great ways to increase spend per head, plus it allows customers to personalise their meal to their taste too.”

How will the pub of the future cater to changing consumer preferences?

Successful pubs of the future will cater to changing consumer preferences by leveraging technology for seamless experiences, offering diverse and health-conscious menus, prioritising sustainability, fostering community engagement, providing flexible seating (with solutions for all seasons), and integrating immersive entertainment/competitive socialising.

How will food and drink offerings evolve in pubs of the future?

Personalised experiences: Pubs in the future could leverage technology to offer personalised food and drink recommendations based on customer preferences, dietary restrictions, and health data. This could enhance customer satisfaction and create a more tailored dining experience.

Sustainability and local sourcing: There will likely be a stronger focus on sustainability, with pubs sourcing ingredients locally to reduce carbon footprints. Menus are likely to highlight eco-friendly practices they use and promoting food waste reduction.

Plant-based options: With there being a growing trend towards people eating more plant-based diets, future pubs may expand their offerings of these types of dishes and drinks. This shift aligns with both environmental concerns and changing consumer preferences for healthier and more diverse food options.

Technological integration: Pubs are likely to start investing in advanced technologies like automated bartending systems, allowing for precision in drink mixing and efficient service. With tech firms investing so much in augmented reality devices, augmented reality menus could provide immersive experiences, showcasing details about each dish or cocktail through interactive visuals.

Health-conscious choices: Expect a rise in health-conscious food and drink options, with pubs offering nutritious and balanced choices. This could include functional beverages, superfood-infused cocktails, and creative low-alcohol or alcohol-free alternatives to cater to health-conscious consumers.


Creative flavour combinations: Pubs may experiment with unique flavour combinations, blending traditional and international ingredients to create innovative dishes and drinks. This could lead to a more diverse and adventurous culinary landscape within the pub scene.

Interactive Dining: To enhance customer engagement, future pubs might incorporate interactive elements into the dining experience. This could include tabletop touchscreens for customizing orders, interactive drink-making stations, or even immersive dining events that combine food, drink, and entertainment.

Cultural Fusion: Pubs may explore a fusion of different culinary and beverage traditions, creating a diverse and multicultural menu. This approach can attract a wider range of customers and provide a dynamic and inclusive atmosphere.

Wellness-Centric Drinks: Beyond traditional alcoholic beverages, there may be a rise in wellness-centric drinks, such as adaptogen-infused cocktails, functional teas, and health-focused smoothies. These beverages could align with the growing interest in holistic well-being.

Smart Ordering and Payment Systems: Expect streamlined and efficient ordering processes with the integration of smart technologies. Mobile apps, digital menus, and contactless payment options could become standard, enhancing convenience for customers.

For more ideas on the food and drink trends, see what our food and drink trends for 2024 are

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