A sizzling summer: Barbecues can be a great way to boost food sales during the summer months
As food becomes more important to pubs, so the barbecue is discovering a role in pub gardens. They can turn a fine summer's day into a relaxed occasion, encouraging customers to stay longer and boosting not only highly profitable food sales but drink sales too.
That fact has been recognised by Coors Brewers which has produced a checklist of hints and advice for licensees who want to make the most of the opportunity.
"Pub patios and beer gardens are becoming increasingly popular barbecue venues and reflect the country's growing love affair with al fresco dining," said Tim Boyse, Coors' director of customer marketing.
"Barbecues are now big business for the licensed trade as in Britain as a whole, where half of all adults will cook on a barbecue at least once during the summer," he continued. "This is reflected in the licensed trade where barbecues are now staged to provide food and drink for a wide range of different events."
But only outlets with the right facilities, and licensees who have made the right preparations, stand to cash in on this highly lucrative market, he warned.
The success of any barbecue starts at the planning stage well before the charcoal is lit and the first beefburgers hit the grill. And that goes for the drink as well as the food.
"Although the food side is obviously the key element of the whole event, drink also plays a vital role," said Tim. "It is important that a barbecue is not let down by poor service, unchilled beers and an insufficient variety of drinks.
"Our advice is for licensees to pay particular attention to key brands which are good accompaniments to a summer outdoor event.
"Attention should also centre on refrigeration and the ability to serve beer and drinks at the proper temperature," he added. "The right preparations, the right facilities and the right drinks are the three key elements for a successful barbecue."
Here's Coors' advice to make sure your barbecue sizzles:
- Focus on top-selling beer and drinks brands
- Stock up on lagers and bigger bottle sizes, for example the new 600ml or 1.2 litre bottles designed for sharing
- Keep beers refrigerated and as near to the site of the barbecue as possible
- Aim to serve all drinks in chilled, branded glasses
- Link purchases of beer and food, for example a chicken kebab with a beer
- Create branded displays of key beer and drinks products
- Use a permanent outdoor barbecue site if possible
- Advertise your barbecue well in advance
- Be prepared to transfer the event indoors if it rains
- Invest in appropriate outdoor garden furniture
- Ensure you have a complete range of products and packaging for outside eating and drinking
- Do not forget to cater for all ages, families and vegetarians.
Be imaginative. There's more to barbecues than sausages and burgers. Interbrew UK recommends the following barbecue recipes - all washed down with a cold glass of Stella Artois, of course!
Sausage and mash burgers
Preparation time: One hour
Cooking time: Five to 10 minsSausage and mash on the barbie? Surely the mash will fall through the grill? Not when the mash is hidden inside the burger and comes oozing out as a delicious buttery puree when you bite into it.
Ingredients (for two large burgers)For the mash:
- 250g potatoes (Desiree or Maris Piper are good)
- 75g butter
For the sausage burgers:
- 250g minced pork
- Half an onion, finely chopped
- three cloves of garlic, crushed
- 10g chopped parsley
- three tsp chopped sage
- one small egg
- 30g breadcrumbs, preferably fresh
- salt and pepper
- plain flour for dusting
Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks. Cover with cold salted water, bring to the boil and simmer until soft.
Put through a potato ricer or mouli legume to mash. Only use a masher if you don't have the first two items. Add the butter in pieces and mix in until fully amalgamated. Season to taste and then chill in the fridge.
Make the burger mix simply by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl. Place in the fridge to chill. When the mash has become cold and firm you can assemble the burgers.
Take a quarter of the mix, shape into a pattie and make a well as wide as possible without breaking the sides. Take a spoonful of mash and place in the well. Take another quarter of the mix and place over the top of the first one and shape into the finished pattie, giving a good thick, but flat burger shape. Dust both sides very lightly with plain flour and refrigerate until needed.
Brush with oil before putting on the barbecue. Cook on the barbecue in the usual manner making sure they are cooked all the way through.
Braised red onion and endive with parmesan
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: a few minutes
Barbecues dry out vegetables. This is a density problem, based on the fact that by the time the vegetable has started to approach tenderness in the middle it will be burnt to a frazzle on the outside and generally been drained of any small amount of moisture it had in the first place. The answer is simple - par-cook first. Cook gently in a liquid of your choice infusing with flavours of your choice. It's not cheating, you'll still get the smoky barbecue, slightly charred flavour through the finishing on the barbie but without the downside.
- two endives / chicory etc. (choose firm, tightly closed endives)
- one medium red onion
- 28g butter
- juice of two lemons
- 50g finely grated fresh parmesan
Cut the onion in half through the root end. Remove the skin then halve again through the root end leaving the root intact to hold together the onion. Halve the endive through the root end and discard any discoloured outer leaves.
Place the onion quarters in a pan just big enough to accommodate all the veg in one layer. Just cover with water, squeeze in the lemon juice, add the butter and bring to a simmer. Add the endive, cut side down, and continue to simmer gently for about 10 minutes - or until the veg is tender but with a little bite.
Remove carefully with a slotted spoon and allow to drain and cool. To barbecue simply brush with oil, season and place on the barbecue until coloured on both sides. Sprinkle on the parmesan and serve.