They might be taking over our high streets but casual dining restaurants are seriously failing to make the most of their wine sales. That’s the top line conclusion from the first of a series of new reports produced by CGA Strategy, in partnership with The Buyer, that look in-depth at how wine is performing in both the casual dining sector and food-driven on-trade.
The majority of consumers are looking to drink wine on a night out, but rarely do when visiting a casual dining restaurant, according to CGA Strategy’s new wine in the on-trade report produced in association with The Buyer.
If 10 years ago you asked the average restaurant goer if they minded which country the meat in their burger came from, or how many hours the pulled pork in their sandwich had been cooked for, you would probably have got a shrug of the shoulders.
But now people are quite prepared to queue for over an hour on even the coldest, wettest night of the year just to get the right kind of base for their sourdough-based pizza. Never mind the type of jalapeño pepper they want to go on it.
We can’t move for the number of casual dining restaurants there are now on our high street. Even the arrival and success of home delivery, on-demand take away services like Deliveroo would not have been possible if all you could choose from was just the usual take away standard we are used to.
Even with a 20% growth in the number of casual dining chains in the last five years (CGA Peach), major investors and private equity firms still queue up to plough even more money in to this seemingly constantly expanding sector.
Much to do about wine
But whilst these chains might have got the crunch in their burger buns just right they still have an awful lot to do when it comes to upgrading the average customer from a milk shake, bottle of Coca-Cola or a glass of water.
Wine, in particular, is very much an afterthought for many casual dining operators. That’s the principle claim of the first CGA Strategy report in to how well wine is performing in the casual dining and food-driven on-trade sector.
Its ‘Wine and Casual Dining’ report, released officially today, finds that whilst over half (51%) of consumers who go to casual dining outlets like to drink wine when eating out, only one in seven (14%) are enticed enough by the wine offer to order a glass of wine.
It is clearly a gaping hole in the potential performance of the casual dining sector.
Particularly when the research goes on to show that consumers who eat out at casual dining restaurants are three times more likely to recommend the brand to a friend if the quality of the wine they drink is very good.
Wake up call
The report is quite a wake up call to both the casual dining sector and the wine and drinks distributors that supply them.
Produced in association with The Buyer, the report also shows that:
- Only 25% of consumers think the wine they drink at casual dining restaurants is ‘very good’.
- This places it 17th out of 18 different drinks categories measured by CGA.
- As well as being 3.1 times more likely to recommend the outlet if the wine offer is good, this group of consumers is much more inclined to revisit the relevant restaurant themselves.
- One in six consumers state the choice of drinks is “very important” in where they choose to go and eat in casual dining.
- When they do buy wine “out of home” consumers in casual dining restaurants have an average repertoire of 3.5 varietals.
- Only 5% of diners choose to buy wine at ‘New Wave’ casual dining restaurants. It’s clearly not the hip thing to do.
- France is the number one choice for wine drinkers in casual dining restaurants.
These are just some of the top line takeaways from a report that has been pulled together using research based on interviews with more than 8,000 wine drinkers, combined with CGA’s industry-leading On Premise Measurement service.
The Buyer has worked with CGA Strategy behind the scenes to add its own insight and to get additional commentary from wine experts in to the research findings.
Richard Siddle, editor of The Buyer, said of the report’s findings: “It is quite a roller coaster read, particularly if you are focused on supplying wine to the casual dining sector. For whilst it’s clear there is still a huge opportunity for wine, it’s also striking how this is not currently being fulfilled. Not just in the quality of wine available, but how relevant it is in the environments they are in when put up against other drinks choices, be it beers, cocktails or soft drinks.”
He adds: “The good news is the casual dining sector is going from strength to strength with operators and consumers alike demanding more and more. So if wine suppliers can help them get their wine offer right the rewards are still there to be had.”
This is the first of an initial series of four wine-based reports in to UK on-trade which hope to provide the restaurant and wine trades with much needed high level data and insights in to the trends and underlying issues that are shaping current and future wine sales in the premium on-trade.
As well as the initial ‘Wine and Casual Dining’ report the series will include additional reports over the coming months including:
How important is country of origin still to the average restaurant wine drinker? Which ones are performing the best and have the highest perception rate amongst diners? This report will also look at how different varietals from around the world perform and how much traction they have with consumers and is this reflected in bottom line sales? This study will look at both UK data, but also cross check with trends coming out of the US.
Tailoring the Perfect Wine List
It is the most important thing to get right. You might have bought the right wine, but how you present it on a list is crucial. This report will assess the role of price, choice and decision making amongst diners and offers some best practice advice on pricing and ranging. It will also look at how many wines make up the ideal wine list for your channel of the on-trade and what consumers are looking for and how different consumer types require different menu options.
Premiumisation and Polarisation
It is the talk of the trade, but how does premiumisation actually work in reality. How far can you effectively “trade up” a customer and which type of wines are best suited to charging a little more for. What are the education cues needed to convince consumers to pay more for their wine and what do restaurants need to be doing more on the floor to get diners to move higher up the wine list.
How to get involved
Whilst the bulk of these reports will come direct from CGA data and analysis, their ultimate value will come also from the input and co-operation of individual wine importers and distributors to share their thoughts and insights in to each of these four key areas.
The Buyer, and CGA Strategy, is keen to work with distributors and operators willing to share their experiences and give their insights in to the CGA findings so that they can provided added value to the final printed report.
If you would like to be interviewed and involved in helping to shape the content of these forthcoming reports then please contact Richard Siddle at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Each individual report costs £750 to purchase on their own, but discounts are available for multi-buys including:
• 1 report: £750
• 2 reports: £1,500
• 3 reports: £1,750
• 4 reports: £2,000.
Each report will be produced both in PDF format and as a powerpoint presentation for customisation purposes.
If you would like to buy any of these reports then please either contact Richard Siddle or Mark Newton at firstname.lastname@example.org.