Pubs and restaurant groups are facing increasing competition from entertainment venues, new research shows.

The latest Market Growth Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners revealed a 6.3% rise in the number of licensed entertainment establishments including theatres and cinemas over the past year – equating to more than four net new openings per week – while five-year figures up to March 2018 saw a leap of 37%.

“We’ve seen this growth in licensed cinemas and theatres so [the number of venues] providing food and drink is spreading,” Peter Martin, CGA vice president told MCA. “If you’re running a pub or restaurant group you’ve got more competition from others areas. It’s a symptom of intense competition in the market.”

Martin said many consumers were looking for ‘experiential’ evenings, while the younger generation were ‘quite excited’ about technology in hospitality whether it be paying for a bill or ordering by phone.

Many food and drink business were already responding with events like tastings, Martin continued, however he added that in order to “stand out and attract people in” a point of difference is required.

“The fundamentals are to be close to your customers, know what they’re doing when they’re not with you, and be close to understanding what’s happening in the market,” he added.

In stark contrast, drink-led sector circuit bars, community locals and nightclubs had borne the brunt of closures with their numbers down 18.6%, 18% and 10.8% respectively over the last five years, the quarterly snapshot of pub, bar and restaurant supply showed.

Elsewhere, the number of food-led sites in rural areas appear to be faring better than wet-led operations.

There was a 2.4% rise in the number of food-led pubs and bars opening in the south of England against a 7.9% decline in wet-led sites, figures for March 2013-March 2018 showed.

The North of England saw a 9.6% drop in wet-led operations, while Scotland recorded a fall of 7.5% but both regions witnessed a rise in dry-led venues of 6% and 13.8% respectively.