Focus East Anglia: View from the Top

Related tags East anglia Suffolk East of england

East Anglia is an extremely diverse region; predominantly rural with pockets of urban activity. Its people can enjoy a rich variety of outlets...

East Anglia is an extremely diverse region; predominantly rural with pockets of urban activity. Its people can enjoy a rich variety of outlets providing valuable social meeting points in many villages and small towns.

Throughout our region the traditional community service role of pubs with sports and quiz teams has been extended to include services such as post offices, dry cleaning, basic groceries and free wi-fi.

The importance of understanding your customers should never be underestimated - whether you're hosting a darts match or a book club, whether you're selling cask or speciality beer, pubs with true insight into their customer base will be those which thrive in the future. Do what you do well

Innovation may often play a role in developing a business, but still there can be space for pursuing some older themes really well. In Suffolk, for instance, where we enjoy many visitors to the coast and beautiful surrounding countryside, pubs inevitably focus on their food offer.

Great pubs know their point of difference and have the confidence to deliver something that sets them apart from the competition, be that the food offer or an interesting range of cask beers and wines. By establishing this difference, they will start to build their customer loyalty. Such reputations are hard to earn and need protecting from poor service or products.

In East Anglia the trend in locally-sourced seasonal food has reached an all time high. In our region we have an abundance of fantastic produce.

Suffolk is famous for its asparagus and for its pigs - it's a little known fact, but Suffolk has more pigs than people! Bacon, ham, butcher's sausages and even Suffolk salami are a must for any pub menu wanting to offer local produce.

And I believe the smoking ban will benefit these businesses that have fought hard to earn their reputation as great food venues. Most rural pubs seem to have particular difficulty in attracting enough employees, although this comment could no doubt be extended to much of the hospitality industry.

Providing good working conditions and competitive rates of pay are essential if a pub wants to secure and retain competent and enthusiastic staff. Good people are a great business asset and should be treated as such.

In many rural areas, accepting and embracing a diverse labour pool is now a necessity for pubs. Despite an appalling summer, tourism in this region is on the up and my feeling is that East Anglia will continue to establish itself as a holiday and weekend destination.

The future prospect for our region's pubs looks bright - there is a rich variety offering quality food and drink for a diverse mix of people and occasions.

Jonathan Adnams is Chairman of Suffolk brewer and pub operator Adnams

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