Managed groups’ like-for-like sales up four per cent in March, but inflation holds down growth

22 April 2022

  • Bar and restaurant sectors outpace pubs
  • London flat while sales rise six per cent beyond the M25

Britain’s managed restaurant, pub and bar groups achieved solid growth from pre-COVID-19 levels in March, the new Coffer CGA Business Tracker shows—but with high inflation hitting both margins and spending, hospitality’s recovery from COVID-19 remains fragile.

The Tracker, produced by CGA in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM, reveals groups’ like-for-like sales in March 2022 were four per cent higher than in March 2019. It continues a gradual upturn this year, after a like-for-like drop of one per cent in January and three per cent growth in February.

Bars performed the strongest of the Tracker’s three sectors in March, with like-for-like sales growth of eight per cent, as consumers continue to seek high tempo and experiential visits. Restaurants were close behind with six per cent growth, thanks in large part to flourishing delivery sales, while pubs were up two per cent.

Trading in London continues to lag well behind other parts of the country, the Coffer CGA Business Tracker shows. Managed groups’ like-for-like sales inside the M25 in March were flat, compared to six per cent growth beyond the M25.

Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, said: “After the disappointment that there would be no sector-specific support in the Chancellor’s spring statement, March’s like-for-like sales increases will come as a welcome relief at a time when the last elements of COVID-19 support have fallen away. The sector is being challenged with extreme cost inflation pressures at the same time as consumers are facing increased restrictions on their discretionary spending. The extent to which customers can bear higher prices in order to protect already slim profit margins will be critical as businesses navigate their way through what will be testing times over the next six to nine months.”

Karl Chessell, director - hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA, said: “Two years on from the start of the pandemic and unprecedented turmoil in hospitality, these figures show managed groups are building back steadily. It’s particularly pleasing to see bars performing so well, as people return to late-night visits. However, like-for-like figures are well below inflation, and with soaring costs in energy, food and other areas hurting both operators and consumers, real-terms growth will be extremely challenging for some time.”

Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, said: “Whilst restaurant and bar sales are continuing to increase, these numbers are well below inflation. After a long challenging period for operators the recovery is slow and the challenges faced by the sector are wide. These numbers are improving though and returning workers and tourists in increasing numbers should help lift London over the coming months.”

CGA collected sales figures directly from 59 leading companies for the March edition of the Coffer CGA Business Tracker.

Participating companies receive a fuller detailed breakdown of monthly trading. To join the cohort, contact Andrew Dean at andrew.dean@cgastrategy.com

About the Coffer CGA Business Tracker
Participants include: All Star Lanes, Amber Taverns, Anglian Country Inns, Azzurri Group (Ask Italian, Zizzi), Banana Tree Restaurants, Beds and Bars, Big Table Group (Bella Italia, Las Iguanas), Boparan Restaurant Group (Carluccio’s, Gourmet Burger Kitchen), Bill’s Restaurants, BrewDog, Buzzworks Holdings Group, Byron, Cityglen Pub Co, Coaching Inn Group Ltd, Cote Restaurants, Dishoom, Dominion Hospitality, East London Pub Company, Fuller Smith & Turner, Gaucho Grill, Giggling Squid, Greene King (Chef & Brewer, Hungry Horse, Flaming Grill), Gusto Restaurants, Hall & Woodhouse, Hawthorn Leisure, Honest Burgers, Laine Pub Co, Le Bistrot Pierre, Liberation, Loungers, Marston's, McMullen & Sons Ltd, Mitchells & Butlers (Harvester, Toby, Miller & Carter, All Bar One), Mowgli, Nando’s Restaurants, New World Trading Company, Oakman Inns, Peach Pubs, Pizza Express, Pizza Hut UK, Prezzo, Punch Pub Co, Rekom UK, Restaurant Group (Frankie & Bennys, Chiquitos, Brunning & Price), Revolution Bars, Riley’s, Rosa’s Thai, Snug Bar, Southern Wind Group (Fazenda), St Austell, Star Pubs & Bars, State of Play Hospitality, Stonegate Group (Slug & Lettuce, Yates’, Walkabout, Bermondsey Pub Company), Tattu Manchester, TGI Fridays UK, The Alchemist, True North Brew Co, Upham Pub Co, Various Eateries (Strada, Coppa Club), Wagamama, Whitbread (Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Table Table), YO! Sushi and Youngs.

About CGA:
CGA is the definitive On Premise measurement, insight and research consultancy that empowers the world’s most successful food and drink brands. With more than 30 years’ experience and best-in-class research, data and analytics, CGA is uniquely positioned to help On Premise businesses develop winning strategies for growth. CGA works with food and beverage suppliers, consumer brand owners, wholesalers, government entities and pub, bar and restaurant retailers to protect and shape the future of the On Premise experience. Its mission is to use phenomenal data and expert insights to give brands a competitive edge and ensure the market we love is the most vibrant possible.

To learn more, visit: www.cgastrategy.com