TWST.com and Charlie Duerr of Nation's Restaurant News summed up the work of KeyBanc Capital Investment analyst Brad Ludington's view of the restaurant industry. Ludington believes casual dining restaurants have been particularly successful at facing current challenges and continue to engage consumers to keep business moving. These efforts bode very well for brewpubs, better beer bars and packaging brewers who build brands and sales in casual dining restaurants.
The five reasons restaurants can be optimistic are:
1. Consumers are coming back to restaurants.
2. Social media marketing is working.
3. There are still opportunities for growth.
4. Restaurants can work around inflated commodity costs.
5. Consumers are still spending.
Ludington specifically noted the entertainment and convenience that restaurant experiences provide, and that gas prices haven't had a huge impact on spending and appear to be stabilizing.
We saw beer sales from brewpub companies grow 6.9% in 2010. Now many brewpubs have branched into some packaging in growlers and/or off-premise sales in cans, bottles and kegs, but in an environment when many brewpubs sell all the beer they can make, the growth is particularly encouraging. In some cases the brewpub is the only place you can get specific beers, and that has an appeal all its own for people looking for a unique experience. Craft brewers also tend to be experienced and knowledgeable about engaging their customers through social media and word of mouth, so the upside of these trends should be greater than many other casual dining outlets.
Time to go the the pub for some beer and food? It is for me. See you there.
June 10, 2011