The aroma of a barbecue would attract more than three-quarters of consumers to eat at a bar, pub or restaurant, even if they only wanted a drink, according to new research.
While these aromas appealed to 77% of consumers, the survey by leading food and drink supplier Bidfood found that a traditional English selection of barbecue food was the most popular, picked by 66% of respondents.
A taste of America was in second place, appealing to 59% of respondents, while world cuisine offered potential with the spicy, fragrant flavours of Jamaica and the Caribbean appealing to over one-third (36%).
The usual meat options continued to rank highly with barbecue fans, with chicken taking the top spot with over half (52%) of respondents choosing it as one of their most wanted barbecue items.
Beef burgers came in second at 47%, closely followed by sausages at 46% and steak with 42% of the votes.
However, mirroring broader dining demand, 80% of those surveyed agreed it was important for bars, pubs and restaurants to offer vegetarian and vegan options, such as jackfruit and “vegan duck”. It fits in with The Vegan Society’s data that showed that 42,000 people in the UK in 2017 followed a plant-based diet.
Lucy Pedrick, insights manager at Bidfood, said: “The summer season is arguably one of the most crucial trading periods for a pub or restaurant, with 76% of those we surveyed visiting between one to five times a month.
“Barbecues present a potentially lucrative incremental revenue stream, where publicans and restauranteurs can seize the lunch-time, post-work and early evening drinks sales opportunities, and extend dwell-time considerably.
“As the survey results illustrate, the open-style cooking and aroma of a barbecue is appealing enough to lead consumers to put their hands in their pockets and make an unplanned food purchase.
“With publicans and restaurateurs often running a barbecue pop-up alongside lunch and dinner menus, it’s important that chefs find ways to work smarter, not harder, to ensure they can deliver.
“Operators need to maximise consumer insight, tapping into the potential to offer not only a well-thought-out range of barbecue items but also easy-to-manage toppings and sides that enable consumers to customise their purchases.
“For example, Bidfood’s Create Summer range includes everything from American-inspired staples such as Farmstead Tomahawk Steak and Perdix Battered Chicken Escalope to Premium Selection Barbecue Pulled Pork with Jalapeno Peppers – perfect on its own or as a burger topping – and Lion Maple and Bourbon BBQ Sauce to add that finishing touch.
“Here at Bidfood we’re big on flavour and offer a wide selection of authentic marinades, rubs and seasonings from around the world, which work perfectly for barbecues. These include Franks Red Hot Chilli ‘N’ Lime Sauce, Lion Korean BBQ Sauce and Middle Eastern Za’atar marinades.
“What’s more, tapping into the booming vegan trend, Bidfood’s Chefs Choice Jackfruit and a range of vegan cheeses are also on offer, along with a huge host of other meat-free options.”