When is a Pub a Restaurant

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When is a Pub a Restaurant

When is a Pub a Restaurant?

Over the past ten years retailers in the hospitality industry have had to look for new ways of competing for business and attracting new customers, in response to increased competition and changing customer tastes.


The response from traditional pub retailers was to develop food and combine with drink to appeal to wider markets. Food sales in many branded outlets typically overtook wet sales and pub retailers felt the need to disassociate themselves from their less fashionable pub roots, preferring to be called restaurants.

Many traditional pubs also adapted their offers, and found profitable business to be had from offering food and appealing to wider markets than just drinkers. Again by the nature of their sales and food offers, pub businesses found themselves being classified as restaurants.

The development of pubs as catering businesses has seen the number of “restaurants” grow dramatically, yet many are to all intents and purposes pubs with traditional characteristics, i.e., bar, dedicated drinking areas, charm and “cosy” atmosphere. Without the menu, or food offer, many of these operations would revert to unprofitable wet lead businesses, or pubs, or more likely to higher alternative uses. It is hardly surprising therefore that there is a grey area as to what constitutes a restaurant.

Public perception of pub restaurants generally seems to be “pubs with food” rather than restaurants, however the combination of the menu, extensive catering kitchen and high proportion of food sales, infers that these businesses are most definitely restaurants.


It is my opinion that a restaurant is a business that offers food to eat on the premises, and where the menu and food sales are a major contributor to overall sales. The proportion of food sales can vary considerably but provided the menu is the key driver for the customer choosing to visit the premises, then the business comprises a restaurant.

Pearl has a dedicated Restaurant Department to focus purely on the sale and valuation of restaurants. Pearl Restaurant Department welcomes business from all catering operations regardless of their classification.

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