Many traditional boozers have closed their doors since the financial crisis hit in 2007, and while most industries started the slow process of recovery in the years immediately following the crisis, things only got worse for many local watering holes. The Office for National Statistics’ recently released research into the UK pub and bar sector reveals an interesting, and much needed, turn around in recent years – and it’s not down to drink.
Until 2014, the sector was facing serious problems. Turnover was dropping, and pubs across the country were closing their doors for good. One thing seems to have saved the pub industry, and it wasn’t drinks offers, entertainment, or a decent pub quiz. The sector’s saviour has instead been one of a sweet and savoury nature: Food.
Interestingly, the ONS research found that while a lot of pubs, were closing, those that were remaining open were hiring at a rapid pace. In 2013, there were just over 41,000 pubs in the UK, employing a total 310,000 staff. As of 2019, these figures had changed to 39,100 pubs employing 457,000 staff.
Also noteworthy is that the amount of bar staff pubs and bars employed drastically declined from 2014, while the number of food servers and those working in related roles, like kitchen staff or cooks, spiked massively. This all points to the same conclusion, and something that has perhaps been observable on the high street. The key to survival for many establishments has been to embrace the increasing demand for family-friendly, affordable places to eat.
Apart from a dip in 2016, which saw both staffing levels drop and financial turnover take a hit (quite possibly due to Brexit and associated factors), earnings for the sector have been on the rise since 2017. Levels are still nowhere near pre 2007 takings, but the number of pubs and bars in the country increased for the first time in a decade between 2018 and 2019.
One More Round
It’s certainly promising to see such an improvement in the pub and bar industry after such a long struggle. It’s an interesting indicator about the overall attitude of the nation too – we generally seem to be drinking less (and at home when we do), instead of going to bars to drink. Cost is almost certain to be a factor, which means when we do go out and spend, we’d probably rather do so on a slap-up meal in casual surroundings.
Having said that, there is a noteworthy trend potentially appearing in 2019. Bar staff are growing in number again, while food serving staff numbers are starting to decline, which seems to indicate that many of us are starting to pop out for a few pints again. Time will tell, but there’s no escaping the fact that the last few years have been an extremely positive one for Britain’s boozers, although it’s come at the cost of hundreds of establishments. If you’re looking for work in a pub as a chef, barperson, or manager, then have a look through the latest pub roles on JobLookup.