Beleagured publicans are losing out on a potential £400m windfall by neglecting side dishes and starters, claims a new report by McCain Foods](http://www.mccain.co.uk/).
<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
McCain's research found that appetisers are often overlooked, or perceived as low-quality, unchanging and boring. Yet it argues that taking simple steps to extend the food offering to sides and starters - which can also be positioned as snacks and sharing platters - can add up to £8,000 to the bottom line.
Along with contemporary recipes, theatre and presentation, McCain views chips - the most common side dish - as a critical element. Research shows that - two-thirds of consumers would not return to an establishment that sold bad chips.
McCain marketing director Mike Driver added that frozen products offered a "low risk" route to expanding the menu that involved limited wastage and little labour.
The group offers 14 different styles of chips to match different dishes - such as Thin Cut and Crinkle with kids' menus, Julienne with burgers and Southern Fries Lattice with sandwiches.
As a result of the research, it has launched a number of new sides and starters - including Sweet Potato Fries (which proved to be more mainstream than expected), Mozzarella Melters and Chilli Cheese Bites.
The report, Profit on a Plate, also found that food-led pubs were weathering the economic storm best. The sector was facing five closures a week compared with 30 among wet-led outlets.
For more details about the report, call 01723 584 141 or email [firstname.lastname@example.org