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Pubs take a hit on profits to keep prices down and customers coming

11 March 2008

Pub and restaurants reduced menu prices despite rampant food inflation at the start of this year to entice cash-strapped punters.

According to Friary Marketing and Consulting Group's ( FMCG) Menurama survey the average menu price of a rump steak fell by 1.9% during January as managed operators including Vintage Inns, Harvester, Beefeater and Chef & Brewer reduced main course prices.

FMCG director David Humphries said that branded pub chains had bucked last year's trends and were reducing main course prices, compared to dropping starter and dessert prices in 2007.

However city centre restaurants and bars were the exception with average menu prices climbing 2.74% compared with January last year and prices in London gaining 3.9% year on year.

Menu transparency amongst chains is also growing.

Humphries said: "More and more outlets are giving details of the regional origin of their food and in the ‘value' and ‘mainstream causal' segments of the market household food brands are becoming more widely listed. One outlet even listed Bisto gravy by name in eight of its dishes."

Menurama surveyed 25,000 dish prices in branded and managed pubs and restaurants.

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By Christopher Walton

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