Pub brands need to step up their game as the latest data from MCA shows consumer ratings falling across the market.

The Pub Brand Monitor Q1 2016 shows that while consumer ratings for their overall experience at pubs are flat compared to the same period last year, they have fallen in all the key metrics - drink quality/taste, food quality/taste, value for money and friendly service.

The monitor, which looks at the major pub brands across the UK, shows that scores for intention to revisit and to recommend a pub has remained flat at lunch and decreased at dinner, driven largely, by decreasing scores in the premium pub segment.

However, there is some good news for the sector – with average spend per head per pub lunch up by 2% to £11.62 - in line with the increase seen across the wider eating out market. At dinner average spend per head per visit remained fairly flat at £17.31, compared to the wider eating out market, where it rose 8%.

The monitor shows that JD Wetherspoon continues to lead the pub market in terms of brand awareness, consideration and actual visit numbers. While JDW accounts for almost a quarter of pub lunches and a fifth of pub dinners, its share of total pub visits at lunch has fallen since Q1 2015.

Of all major pub restaurant brands, JDW is rated highest for menu choice and value for money, overtaking Toby Carvery for this latest rating. However, the Mitchells & Butlers brand retains its top spot for food quality/taste, drink quality/taste and overall experience.

Of the major pub brands, Toby Carvery has been rated highest for value for money over the past few quarters, but this quarter its rating dropped by 0.2 points compared to Q1 2015.

Toby Carvery is the brand most likely to be recommended to friends or family after increasing its net promoter score at lunch. Revisit intention scores for Toby Carvery have decreased slightly but remain strong, ranking no. 1 of all major pub brands for dinner and no. 2 for lunch, just after Marston’s.

MCA’s head of consumer insight, Gareth Nash, said: “There has been a period of positive growth for the pub market over the last year, highlighted by MCA’s recent Pub Market Report. However, in the context of an Eating Out market which includes a number of fast growing channels, such as coffee shops, sandwich retailers and street food, pubs must ensure they remain relevant to the next generation of consumers and keep up with the innovative, dynamic and high quality concepts raising the bar throughout the marketplace.”

The report is underpinned by MCA’s EatingOut Panel - a monthly tracker of consumer behaviour, perceptions and trends, providing the UK’s most accurate and insightful continuous dataset on eating out trends.

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