Saturday 21 July 2007

Who’s going to eat all the pies?

Putting more emphasis on food has been widely recommended as the way for pubs to respond to the smoking ban. Yet food has been touted as “the future of the pub” for thirty years, and we must be fast approaching the point where the market is saturated. You can stay in the pub for one drink or many, but you’re never going to eat more than one meal at a sitting.

The idea that small urban locals that currently serve no food at all and do 80% of their business after 9 pm can suddenly turn themselves into dining establishments is absurd. Indeed, many pubs in secondary locations that once made an attempt to serve meals and appeal to outsiders have dropped the food, gone evenings-only and essentially cater only for locals and regulars.

Also it has to be said that the vast majority of pub food ranges between the merely adequate and the utterly dire. There are a few honourable exceptions, but, in general, if you want a good meal rather than something just to fill a gap, you will go to a restaurant, not a pub.

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