Long days and summer holidays are good for trade and we could really do with a sunny summer. But what if it's terrible again — how can I make the most of my sales at this key time?
Geoff Brown, Punch Taverns
Good weather has always been an important part of why summer trading levels in the
on-trade are better than those
Having said that, some pubs do actually see trade fall in summer (because competitors have better summer facilities) the overall sales figures for the pub trade always go up in
People want to get out of the house more in summer, even in poor weather, so we give them reasons to do that.
It's hard to plan for poor summer weather since the
UK weather forecast is never accurate over more than a
few days. However you can have ideas ready to activate as a reaction to poor weather.
Get people close to your pub out of the house by empathising with the depression we all feel from too much rain.
Run short-notice quizzes or food feature events (eg, treacle pudding on the menu!)
Don't plan events that rely on us having a good summer — plan "rainy day" events as well that work well inside the pub.
Laugh at the weather — give customers the feeling that time spent in the pub is time away from the weather.
A board advertising how warm and dry it is inside your pub will raise a smile and attract customers!
David Scott, Carlsberg UK
Good weather in the summertime always gives consumers a good excuse to
get out of the house and down the pub to make the most of
the sunshine, so you need to
Firstly, you need to make
sure that your gardens are in
tip-top condition — lots of umbrellas, no weeds. Try to make it a place that consumers will want to go to.
Often consumers don't know you've even got a garden if it's round the back of your pub,
so make sure that you advertise it well.
You could maybe even take a picture of your outside space and get it blown up so that consumers notice it.
Keeping close to the weather forecast is always a good idea. Then, if you know when you're likely to get busy, you can get some extra staff in to make sure you can cope.
Also make sure you've got plenty of trays, pitchers and stock to deal with demand.
Finally, if you get all of this right, consider running an event such as a barbecue or garden party to make sure people stay and spend as much as they can.
If you guarantee them a good time once, they're bound to come back, even if the sun isn't shining. It could be your opportunity to turn some new consumers into regulars!
Graham Donald, Matthew Clark
Looking forward to things is only human. Sunshine and the holiday season come around (hopefully) every year. Just like other events with expectations built around them, sometimes the reality can be an anticlimax.
Our industry plays a large part in people's expectations for enjoying the holiday season. Meeting your customers' expectations will ensure you maximise the opportunity.
Consumer spending is freer when people are doing something they've looked forward to. A different offering builds on the optimistic mood.
Provide ways for customers
to spend more (note this does not equate to drinking more). Summer drinks such as Pimm's should offer a premium margin. Offering light summery wines — rosés and lighter styles like Pinot Grigio — will further enhance takings, consider sparkling rosé or pink Champagne — the demand is there don't miss out!
Promoting summer food and drinks together will add to the sense that something special is happening and help meet customers' expectations.
Sarah Lewis, Diageo GB
Some ideas to get more people in include holding weekend activities or BBQs, and ensuring you offer good-value drinks, such as long mixed spirits and pitcher serves. British weather is unpredictable — you can't rely too much on hot summer days making a difference to sales.
Prepare for all eventualities — we recommend two approaches. Firstly, make the most of every opportunity to drive trade when weather is good. Make use of outside areas, which are especially attractive to groups.
Summer-themed activities such as Mediterranean-inspired days with tailored food and drink offers can work well. Or perhaps customers are sports fans —
you could have a themed day around a major upcoming event.
If your pub is in a popular holiday location, think about offers to bring in tourists all day — weekdays and weekends.
Food-wise, lighter options such as salads tend to become more popular while barbecues bring in additional customers.
Your drinks offer is key. Relaxing with friends is one of the main reasons people visit pubs in summer, so drinks that fit well with these occasions are important. A menu of beer and spirit and mixer pitcher serves to share also provide great value and good profits for you.
Should the weather change or not live up to expectations, have a balanced offer. Think about drinks, promotions and events that can work on a cloudy day as well as a sunny one. This could be anything from bringing dining inside if there is space to hosting quizzes, or showing a popular sporting event on your TV and theming a day around it.
Imogen Pudduck, Red Bull
There are three areas to add value, particularly over summer, getting more people in your pub and getting them to stay longer.
n Your garden: few things beat sitting in your favourite beer garden, drinking an ice-cold drink. It's a haven for customers, so make sure it delivers what you dream of over those long winter months and is ready for the extra people the sun will bring. Nice seating areas, garden games, child-friendly areas, and table service are key offerings to make your garden a better place to be.
n Refreshing drinks: This is the time of the year for chilled, long drinks as, generally, customers do not want to get drunk quickly, but want to take their time to enjoy their day. It's a good time to remind yourself and staff of recommended perfect serves .
n Summer-based offerings: Themed days or nights are a real winner, with 68% of all promotions running in venues having a link to an event. Summer barbecues are easy to set up, reasonably cost-effective, and consumers love them. If you have a local farm to provide the meat, then this is an extra incentive for your customers.
A beer festival, which can be as simple as your staff offering samples of local and mainstream brews during the day, is also a fun way to get customers involved in
your outlet and range and keep them their longer, adding value
to their visit.
Finally, remember this is a
busy period for your venue, ensure you have the right amount of staff, so that the extra footfall will not impact on your speed of service, maximising profit opportunities and keeping customers happy.
Paul Grace, Coca-Cola Enterprises
With unreliable weather, preparation is the key:
n Equipment reliability
n Marketing and availability for the right products
n Being ready to flex your level of staffing is a major advantage.
Ice making and dispensed machine performance is critical. Help dispensed units and fridges do their job by brushing dust from the vents and keeping the cellar at the optimum temperature.
Six summer suggestions are:
n Have stock in the cellar — at lunch times and mid week think about the space and visibility you give to soft drinks in the fridge.
n Make outdoor areas inviting . And tell customers what you stock on menus and on boards.
n Build a back-bar display and make sure products are visible.
n Think of ideas for summer activation: perhaps Pimm's and lemonade or pitchers of non-alcoholic cocktails.
n Soft drinks are consumed quicker and more often. Attentive staff selling drinks at the table and clearing glasses soon pays back.
n Remember the correct serves.