As part of my work consulting to pub owners I’m often asked “What should we be charging?” for food menu items. Of course, the amount one charges for pub food depends on several factors, not least of which are the local market place and the quality/type of food one serves or your particular food USP.
We can all be our own market researchers these days and it doesn’t have to entail numerous visits to the local competition or places recommended by friends and family. Nowadays no pub worth its salt will eschew having a website of some sort, even if it’s just a Facebook page, so sussing out what’s on offer in your neighbourhood couldn’t be simpler. The only trouble is it’s time consuming, however, a few hours spent trawling the web will inform your decisions on the type of food and the prices you charge.
According to market research company MCA in their 2018 Menu & Trends report the average spend on a three-course pub meal is an astonishing £23.13. Pubs are increasingly offering “meal deals” as a mainstay of their promotional and marketing activity with 76% using them during the winter months and 59% in the summer; and nearly a quarter (23%) of all adult main meals are served as part of a “meal deal”.
Whilst this gives an overall average matrix to compare your pub food pricing points, the survey only covers some 106 “brands”, which may not be where you might to pitch your prices at. The prices charged by independent operators are harder to assess as there appears to be no market research into this sector of the pub trade. So, to save you some time I’ve been recording menu items and prices charged throughout the country from over 300 independent, quality pub food operators, to create, in effect, the “ultimate pub menu”.
Not all the menu items may suit your establishment, or one you are thinking of taking on and the prices quoted (February 2018) will undoubtedly change depending, to some extent, where in the country your business is situated, however as a national “benchmark” you will have a starting point. (For instance, you may want to round up or down to the nearest 5p or 10p).
On the subject of rounding MCA reports three distinct price points:
- prices ending in a 9
- prices ending in a 5
- prices ending in 0
Just under half use pricing ending in 5 and 30% use 9; with the former being associated with mainstream brands, and the latter with value-led brands. Upmarket brands tend to use whole pound rounding.
The menu reflects current consumer preferences for high quality “pub grub” cooked to order and featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients and are decidedly at the top end of pub food, something which many pubs aspire to.
Your venue may not support this level of pricing in which case you will price your menu according to your market place or your pub food USP, which is where your local market research comes in.
Another factor in pricing food for your pub is, of course, the level of Gross Profit you are aiming to achieve.
You may not want to include all these items on your menu, for instance, I suggest 5-7-5 (five starters, seven main courses and five desserts) is more than enough for most pubs, remember the maxim “quality not quantity”. Some items listed might only ever feature on your specials board and, of course, not all pubs serve Sunday Lunch.
Price Points detailed below are all inclusive of VAT at the prevailing rate of 20%
Average price of a starter: £7.35
Fish Based: £6.73
Other Shellfish: £7.99
Meat Terrines: £6.63
Foie Gras: £13.25
Paté/ Parfait: £6.74
Cheese Based: £6.73
Average price of a main course: £14.13
Beef Based (not Steaks): £18.00
Pork Based: £14.95
Chicken Based: £12.63
Duck Based: £14.98
Meat Pies/Puddings: £11.42
Fish & Chips £11.87
Fish Based (not Fish & Chips): £14.79
Lamb Based: £16.88
Speciality Sausage: £12.08
1 Course: £11.90
2 Course: £15.45
3 Course: £18.45
Average price of a dessert: £ 5.85
Ice Creams/Sorbet: £4.99
Cheese Board: £7.64
Fruit Based: £5.63
Other Potato: £3.00
Average price of a sandwich: £6.58
Generic Panini / Ciabatta: £7.82
Standard Coffee: £2.51
Deluxe Coffee (non-alcoholic): £2.79
Hot Chocolate: £2.63