GuestMetrics: Casual Restaurants Not Leveraging Growth of Craft Beer

While bars and fine dining restaurants have caught on to the craft beer boom, casual restaurants are lagging behind, according to information from GuestMetrics, a data provider focused on the hospitality industry.

“On pretty much every dimension, casual restaurants are not doing as effective a job as fine dining restaurants or bars in leveraging the growth in craft beers,” said Bill Pecoriello, CEO of GuestMetrics LLC.

Pulling from a database of more than $8 billion in sales from 2012, GuestMetrics found that craft beer accounted for 28 percent of overall beer sales in fine dining restaurants, 22 percent of beer sales in bars, and only 20 percent of beer sales in casual restaurants.

Moreover, fine dining restaurants charge an average of $6.16 per craft beer, compared to $5.53 in bars and $5.09 in casual restaurants, according to GuestMetrics.

Pecoriello said that while each sub-channel has different brand mixes, promotional levels and pricing architecture, casual restaurants should be able to close the price gap “relative to what bars are realizing.”

“While casual restaurants obviously need to have a balanced offering in the beers they carry, we believe there could be a positive halo effect on overall beer sales from dialing up their focus on craft beers,” said Peter Reidhead, vice president of strategy and insights at GuestMetrics.

GuestMetrics also found that craft beer sales in 2012 rose by 11 percent in bars and 13 percent in fine dining restaurants, the category grew by only 7 percent in casual restaurants in 2012.

“Given the tight economics being experienced by casual restaurants right now, optimizing the brand mix, discount levels and pricing architecture within the beer category are key to improving revenue trends,” said Brian Barrett, president of GuestMetrics.

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