Wet-led pubs achieved a 4.1% increase in like-for-like sales (lfls) during August as the mini heatwave brought out drinkers, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker.

Managed pub groups recorded a 2.4% uplift in lfls, with drink-led pubs in London performing the best with lfls up 5%. Pub groups saw drink sales up 3.8% over the month, with food sales marginally down by 0.1%.

However, restaurant groups didn’t fare so well in the hot weather with lfls down 0.2%, resulting in collective sales for pubs and restaurants to increase by 1.6% during the month, compared to the same time last year.

“The weather, as is often the case, played a big part in shaping sales, with the hot weather in the run-up to and during the bank holiday weekend boosting pub trading and suppressing restaurant sales,” said Karl Chessell, director of CGA, which produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM.

“The good news is that, even with the uneven effect of the weather, the underlying performance was 1.6% up on last August, following growth of 1.2% in July,” he added.

While pubs outperformed restaurants, helped by the weather, Mark Sheehan, managing director, Coffer Corporate Leisure, noted that consumer habits are changing fast “especially in the restaurant sector, evidenced by The Restaurant Group announcing that they are to close up to half of their mainstream restaurants over time”.

“Until recently these were seen as the best portfolio of sites in the market and demonstrates the difficulties being experienced by many restaurant chains. Only the exceptional are performing well. The pub sector by contrast is resilient. Pubs are generally unbranded and don’t suffer from the often-limited lifespan a brand may face.”

Commenting on the apparent moves by consumers to balance their household budgets by cutting back on eating out, Paul Newman, RSM’s head of leisure and hospitality, added: “With underlying costs outpacing top line growth, we fear some food operators will struggle to meet upcoming quarterly rent bills which could lead to further casualties in the UK mid-market dining sector.”

Regionally, London performed better than the rest of Britain, with lfl trading up 2.9%, against 1.2% growth outside the M25. Restaurant groups in the capital were also in positive territory, up 0.5% against minus 0.5% outside.