South East

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Royal oak, Public house

Royal Oak Southampton, Hampshire Alan and Suzie Dreja took on the Royal Oak as their first pub in 2005, and quickly turned the depressed boozer into...

Royal Oak

Southampton, Hampshire

Alan and Suzie Dreja took on the Royal Oak as their first pub in 2005, and quickly turned the depressed boozer into a lively and fun place for locals, students and football

fanatics - often at the same time.

Suzie says: "As soon as we saw the pub, we knew it could do better than it was, with offices right next door, a football ground across the road and student accommodation nearby."

Students on both sides of the bar

Members of staff consist largely of students who help create an "upbeat, lively, and fun" atmosphere. Suzie stresses that university work, however, must always come first and the students therefore pick their own shifts, and are always offered the option to swap with another member of staff if they're busy. Employees are taught to fill in a log book if they have to refuse to serve someone for

being underage or too drunk.

A helping hand

The Drejas are known as "mum and dad" by many of the students, as they always try to lend a helping hand with any problems they might have. They are happy to "sub" students who provide them with a good sobstory, such as being short of money to pay their rent or buy food.

Popular student events at the Trust Inns' outlet include its Sunday roast at £5.50,

apparently the cheapest in town. Roast dinners are served from 1pm to 5pm and sales are 50% higher than a year ago.

Food-led deals

Another way of attracting students is through the pub's "Royalty Card" scheme - students pay £1 for the card as long as they provide ID to prove their age. They are then entitled to different food-led deals every day, such as a free Coke at lunchtimes on Tuesdays, sausage and chips for £2, or a plate of onion rings for £1 on another day.

These and other initiatives have helped Alan and Suzie increase takings from £152,000 when they took over, to a current figure of just under £400,000.

Related topics: Other operators

Property of the week

The Hazeldene Hotel

- Tenancy

The Hazeldene Hotel is opposite the Famous Blacksmiths Shop in Gretna Green. With 11 letting rooms, it is in a prime location to offer fantastic...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more