The number of small pubs and bars in the UK has increased for the first time in more than 15 years. published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in November 2018, showed that turnover and employment in the sector were holding up, despite previously consistent pub and bar closures.The latest ONS data show that the number of small pubs and bars (that is, those with fewer than 10 employees) increased by 85 (a 0.4% increase) in 2019. This follows more than 15 years of closures. The overall number of pubs and bars in the UK increased by 315 (a 0.8% increase) between 2018 and 2019, the first increase for a decade.
New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that pub and bar enterprises now employ more people serving food than people working behind the bar. In 2003, bar staff made up roughly 4 in 10 employees and those serving food (that is, chefs, cooks, waiting staff, and kitchen and catering staff) made up roughly 3 in 10 employees. Since 2016, the opposite has been true, with those serving food outnumbering those working behind the bar.
The tendency in pub and bar enterprises to employ more people serving food may be a reaction to changing consumer habits. There is a long-term trend towards people spending more of their household income on eating out and less on drinking out. We are monitoring the slight decline in spend on meals eaten out in the financial year 2017 to 2018, as this may not be indicative of a consistent trend.