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November 2, 2023


Do you sell more in a café or in a restaurant? Maybe you're thinking about it the wrong way.

SharpGrid Research Team

Each type of outlet has its own unique sales pattern. They all sell a variety of items - from food to various types of beverages - each contributing differently to their total turnover. The key question for beverage manufacturers, however, is whether a larger proportion of a particular product's turnover necessarily means higher sales volumes.

For instance, coffee is a significant part of a cafe's turnover, right? But does that mean more coffee is sold in cafes compared to restaurants? Restaurants might have smaller share of hot beverages in their sales but larger overall turnover. Similarly, do beers sell more in pubs than in restaurants, despite the latter having a higher turnover? And what about spirits and their sales in bars or clubs? 

In other words, we are asking this: Where can you sell the largest quantities of your product?

So join us while we uncover the real potential of on-trade outlets and discover whether the industry is skewed towards certain types of outlets, while other potential opportunities remain underexplored. Learn how to make more informed decisions about your sales strategies and clear up any ambiguities about outlet potentials. 

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Breaking Down Hot Beverage Sales 

We commenced our exploration with hot beverages across various on-trade outlets using data from Czechia but the pattern is similar all over Europe.

In cafés and teahouses, hot beverages account for a significant 35% of the revenue on average (assuming in café that would be coffee and in teahouses tea). This figure dwindles down to 13% in confectioneries and even more so in restaurants, where hot beverages constitute a mere 3% of total sales. However, restaurants boast a total revenue that is roughly twice that of each of these other outlet categories.

Taking a closer look, our data analysis revealed the following results:

  • Restaurants, despite their larger overall turnover, sold hot beverages worth 265,000 CZK annually.
  • Cafés, on the other hand, with a higher proportion of hot beverages in their sales, sold products worth a significantly higher 1,678,000 CZK.
  • Teahouses followed closely, with sales amounting to 1,372,000 CZK.
  • Confectioneries, with a relatively smaller share of hot beverages, sold 630,000 CZK worth.
  • Interestingly, restaurants were surpassed in hot beverage sales by bistros. Bistros, despite not having the high turnover of a restaurant, sold coffee worth 344,000 CZK annually.

Our findings clearly demonstrate that, at least in the case of hot beverages, specialized on-trade outlets outperform restaurants by a substantial margin.

Decoding Beer Sales 

Our next focus was beer, a staple in the beverage category across all on-trade outlets. In pubs, beer contributes to a substantial 49% of total revenue. The proportion drops to 16% in clubs, 14% in bars, 11% in hotel restaurants, and further to 10% in restaurants.

So, where do the highest beer sales take place? Here are our findings:

  • Pubs, with beer comprising nearly half their revenue, lead the pack with average annual sales of 2,100,000 CZK.
  • Clubs follow next with beer sales totaling 993,000 CZK annually.
  • Despite beer forming a smaller share of their revenue, restaurants manage to sell 924,000 CZK worth of beer per year.
  • Bars, even though beer makes up a larger proportion of their revenue than in restaurants, sell less, amounting to 583,000 CZK annually.
  • Hotel restaurants fall at the bottom of the list with 528,000 CZK worth of beer sales per year.

In conclusion, similar to the hot beverage category, specialized outlets - in this case, pubs - outpace the more versatile restaurants in terms of beer sales. 

However, despite beer making up a smaller percentage of their total revenue, restaurants manage to outperform bars and hotel restaurants, thanks to their larger overall turnover. This data suggests that while specialized outlets may have a narrower focus, their high sales volumes in their areas of specialization shouldn't be overlooked.

Analyzing Spirits Sales Across On-Trade Outlets

The next category we turned our attention to was spirits. Spirits represent a diverse group of alcoholic beverages and the revenue they contribute to different outlets is as diverse as the category itself.

In restaurants, spirits make up a minor 4% of the total revenue. The numbers see a substantial jump in bars and clubs, where spirits contribute to 28% and 35% of their respective revenues. However, spirits only make up 8% of the revenue in pubs.

Our analysis of total sales resulted in the following findings:

  • Restaurants, despite spirits making up a relatively small share of their revenue, manage to sell 343,000 CZK worth annually.
  • Bars, with a higher contribution of spirits to their total revenue, boast sales worth 1,163,000 CZK per year.
  • Clubs lead the category, with spirits sales amounting to 2,081,000 CZK annually.
  • Pubs, with a relatively small share of spirits in their turnover, sell 330,000 CZK worth of spirits per year.

As with hot beverages and beer, the pattern holds true for spirits as well. The outlets specializing in these products (bars and clubs in this case) achieve higher sales volumes despite their smaller overall revenue compared to restaurants. 

However, restaurants, despite a lower proportion of spirits sales, manage to keep up with pubs due to their higher total turnover. This further reinforces the importance of understanding the specific sales patterns of each outlet type. For example, you might be inclined to think that pubs’ spirits sales might be higher but as it turns out, restaurants are the better choice between these two in terms of total potential.

Free Market Report: Access data about brands, pricing and distribution

Do you really know where the potential is?

Understanding the potential of a category can be your secret weapon for achieving on-trade success. This isn't just about knowing the category with the help of proper segmentation, it's about identifying the factors that drive its revenue, and using this knowledge to negotiate better deals and boost your sales.

Enter SharpGrid's tools. They offer the ability to delve into the details of both category and outlet levels. It's like having a personal advisor, guiding you through the on-trade customer universe. For example, with our Key Consumer Occasion indicator, you can gain insight into a restaurant's specialties, be it a robust wine selection or an acclaimed coffee menu. Why should you pay attention to this? 

Because you might feel you've identified all the key outlets for your brand, but don't stop there. It's always possible to uncover categories or outlets that have more to offer your products and brands than you initially realized. By broadening your targets, you're not just reaching your business goals, you're exceeding them.

The on-trade landscape is full of surprises. We can help you avoid the nasty ones and find the hidden gems that will drive your sales, revenue and ultimately your business growth. Now for the last part of our analysis, we will tackle the food vs beverages question.

Food vs drinks potential across categories

It should be no surprise now that most wine sales occur at specialized wineries, with 2 342 000 CZK in total compared to 208 000 CZK in restaurants. As for cold drinks, their total sales share is quite similar across categories. For example: 467 000 CZK in restaurants, 562 000 CZK in clubs, 327 000 CZK in hotels, 296 000 in pizzerias etc. Most of the time, cold drinks make up about 5% of the overall revenue. 

Wondering where the most of restaurants’ revenue comes from? It’s warm meals, same as for many other outlet categories. For some, food even makes up almost all the revenue, meaning these places have very low beverage potential. The percentage share speaks for itself: 

  • Fast food: 92%
  • Pizzeria: 75%
  • Confectionery: 67%
  • Bistro: 66%
  • Restaurants: 56%

On the other hand, there are 6 outlet categories with drinks’ revenue share above 50%.

  • Club: 86% 
  • Bar: 78% 
  • Pub: 77% 
  • Winery: 72% 
  • Café: 57% 
  • Teahouse: 51% 

Understanding the market in detail and knowing where the actual opportunities are is crucial for every producer, vendor or distributor of food & beverage to optimize sales, strategies or team allocation. If you want more free data to guide your decision making, visit our Free Market Report page and learn about various brands’ strengths.


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