Join in No Smoking Day

Related tags Smoking ban Pub Need Want

With the smoking ban in England now just over four months away, there's a very odd feel to the trade at the moment. Survey after survey tells us...

With the smoking ban in England now just over four months away, there's a very odd feel to the trade at the moment. Survey after survey tells us consumers are looking forward to the ban. Many say they'll visit the pub more. Yet licensees get gloomier and gloomier as the fateful day approaches. What on earth is going on?

OK, smokers do play a big part in the pub - 42% of sales, apparently. Nervousness about their reaction is understandable. Particularly in a land-locked pub with no kitchen.

And then there's the news from Ireland and Scotland. No getting round it: trade has fallen for many pubs and bars there following the bans.

Clearly, for many licensees those worries are looming far larger than any possible upside. In fact, many can't even see an upside. And they get grumpier and grumpier as the freedom to run their pub the way they want to is snatched away by politicians who couldn't run a whelk store,

However human that may be, though, it's just not professional - and that is what the trade needs to be right now. Any licensee who wants to do more than just hang on has to become truly professional. There's no way of muddling through. Not when you're up against cinemas, coffee bars, casual-dining restaurant chains, and the many other operators out to steal your lunch. Did you know, for example, that only one out of every 10 meals we eat is taken in a pub? That will decline unless licensees become true hospitality professionals.

Coca-Cola has done some interesting work on the post-ban landscape - and it's not good news for the pubs that just want to carry on as they've always done. The soft drinks giant says consumers aren't looking for the same old thing. And they want either good value, or a special, premium experience - not the bland, uninspiring, and over-priced offer that too many mid-range pubs serve up.

Coca-Cola believes a massive change in mindset is needed: pubs must see themselves as more than just places that serve alcohol - they're also doing food, coffee, and yes, of course, soft drinks, and they have a new and much broader customer base.

The best pubs are already there. But the majority aren't yet and they need to do some hard thinking.

March 14 is National No Smoking Day. Pubs should join in, make an event of it, and tell customers how their pub will be just as much fun in the future as it's always been - only better!

Related topics Legislation

Property of the week


£ 60,000 - Leasehold

Busy location on coastal main road Extensively renovated detached public house Five trade areas (100)  Sizeable refurbished 4-5 bedroom accommodation Newly created beer garden (125) Established and popular business...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more