Simon Kossoff, co-founder and chairman of Carluccio’s, believes there has been a fundamental shift towards value across the sector and that the food threat from the pub is increasing as consumers see the pub as a place they “can pop into throughout the day”.
Speaking at M&C’s Managed Pub Summit, Kossoff said: “Despite the economy improving people are still searching out and looking for value and it’s partly driven by offers but it’s also a cultural shift. That is holding back prices in our sector.
“I’m not sure that the quality of offer in terms of food in pubs is where it needs to be. The casual dining market is increasingly sophisticated but I think the opportunity to use a pub in many different ways is an advantage that restaurants are only just catching onto it.”
Kossoff said the company seen breakfast growing and that it was the brand’s strongest daypart at the moment.
He said: “We have seen a breakdown in traditional eating times. That idea that people go out for lunch at 1pm and dinner at 8pm has gone or is going. Instead people are coming out throughout the day to eat and drink and do different things in our stores. You will often get one person having something to eat, one person having a drink and another more or less just dropping by to say hello.
“The food threat from pub is increasing because of that breakdown in traditional dining. Customers see the pub as a place they can pop into throughout the day and that’s what we have been trying to do in Carluccio’s.”
Despite some of his peer group looking to operate restaurant formats in pubs, Kossoff said that the company hadn’t explored that expansion route, but “as we try to grow from 90-odd to 200 stores we will look at all sorts of opportunities”.