77% would spend more when tempted by the smell of a barbecue

Research by Bidfood has revealed that the aroma of a barbecue would attract more than three quarters of consumers (77%) to eat at a pub or restaurant, even if they were only planning to have a drink. This figure highlights significant potential for the sector to maximise sales this summer through an enticing alfresco dining experience.

To tempt customers, pub and restaurant operators need to ensure they have a varied barbecue menu. While the traditional English selection will continue to draw favour, with two thirds (66%) of consumers choosing it as their favourite, a taste of America follows hotly on its heels with 59% of respondents stating this amongst their preferred barbecue options. Bidfood’s research also shows that world cuisine offers standout potential with the spicy, fragrant flavours of Jamaica and the Caribbean appealing to over one third (36%) of consumers surveyed.

As expected, the usual meat options continue to rank highly with barbecue fans but, perhaps surprisingly, chicken has taken the top spot with over half (52%) of respondents choosing it as one of their most wanted barbecue items. Beef burgers came in second at 47%, closely followed by sausages at 46% and steak with 42% of the votes. However, mirroring broader dining demand, 80% of those surveyed agreed it is important for pubs and restaurants to offer vegetarian and vegan options – think jackfruit and vegan duck – after all there are now 42,000 people in the UK following a plant-based diet.

Lucy Pedrick, Insights Manager at Bidfood said: “The summer season is arguably one of the most crucial trading periods for a pub or restaurant, with 76% of those we surveyed visiting between 1-5 times a month. Barbecues present a potentially lucrative incremental revenue stream, where publicans and restauranteurs can seize the lunch-time, post-work and early evening drinks sales opportunities, and extend dwell-time considerably. As the survey results illustrate, the openstyle cooking and aroma of a barbecue is appealing enough to lead consumers to put their hands in their pockets and make an unplanned food purchase.”