Restaurants need to step up their game in order to prevent pubs from stealing their market share, according to a market analyst. The UK restaurant sector is set to start feeling the squeeze more acutely unless it followed the example of leading pub operators, many of whom had invested heavily in new marketing and innovations to keep their offer fresh, were the findings of a report by Horizon. Peter Backman, market analyst at Horizon, said: “Now consumers are feeling the crunch they are cutting back on discretionary spend – including eating out. “When they do eat out they will be looking for value-for-money, reliable service, good quality food and something that offers them what they want, when they want it. “Competition in the high street has never been more aggressive, restaurants have got to work twice as hard in order to retain their market share. “Restaurants need to ‘sweat their assets’ more to improve their bottom line. Trading throughout the day, improving operating efficiencies so fewer people do more work and reducing staff turnover can all help boost profitability.” The study highlighted that pubs, on the other hand, had been forced to work harder to attract customers due to the smoking ban, with many of the leading venues having improved the quality of their menus by cooking fresh food and using locally sourced ingredients. Pubs were also shown to have diversified their offer, through all-day trading, a retail element and promotions. Backman said: “Pubs and restaurants are moving much more closely together creating a market where there is too much capacity and not enough demand. Many pub operators are managing to keep their offer fresh with new ideas and innovative marketing techniques. “If restaurant operators don’t do the same they will lose their market share – some could go out of business.”