Pub and restaurant business leaders expect 2011 will be a tough year but are "confident" of their own businesses's prospects.
That's the finding from the latest Peach Business Leaders Survey.
The survey found that consumer confidence was still the number one risk with customer experience remaining paramount, along with service and food quality.
But new issues have emerged as businesses expect customers to cut back on visits and spend this year. There was also greater concern over food costs and greater focus on cost control.
Despite that, the prospects for pubs looked more positive, according to respondents, and there is a heightened focus on brand building.
Fast food is still seen as best placed to thrive - with 68% believing it well placed to succeed
Overall, 39% of executives are optimistic about market prospects, against 28% who optimistic about their own performance in 2011. However, 50% expect spend per head to decline this year, against 29% who expect an increase (the rest see no change), while 60% expect visit frequency to fall, against 33% who forecast an increase.
Over half (54%), rate consumer confidence as a "very important" challenge for the year, followed by food costs and cost control. Staff training, marketing and service levels are the top three priorities for investment, just ahead of food quality and menu development.
The survey also asked respondents to list the brands they most admired and expected to do great things in 2011. The results were:
Top five admired brands 1. Nando's
2. Jamie's Italian
3. Pizza Express
5= Drake & Morgan
Top five "ones to watch" for great things in 2011 1= Cote
1= Jamie's Italian
3= Drake & Morgan
By Neil Gerrard
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