Phil Mellows looks at how to make the most of your business through the post-Christmas and New Year lull.
January and February is the toughest time of year for licensees.
Christmas and New Year will hopefully be busy enough to take your mind off the trade hangover ahead but soon after you ought to give some thought about how you are going to sustain your business through the bleak mid-winter.
A successful festive period is the first step to this, winning new customers who will want to visit you again. You can drive that by advertising 2003 events now and maybe promoting new year food offers.
If it's going to be quiet, though, January could also be a good time to take a step back and make a critical assessment of your business, the publican's equivalent of going to the gym to get in trim after the seasonal excesses.
Coors Brewers is advising its customers to carry out a category management exercise.
"The new year is an ideal time to take a good long look at the brands you sell," says category marketing controller Neale Lewis. "By reducing the number on sale you could end up selling more.
"It will also pay you to rearrange your back-bar and fridge display, ditching products that are slow to sell. Think about new merchandising displays and generally try to give you bar area a fresh new look.
"Licensees need to take a hard look at their business to ensure they are providing the right package for their customers. The market is highly competitive and if you do not give people what they want they will simply take their business elsewhere," he warned.