Pub food: business boosters

By Jo Bruce

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bury st edmunds

Booster: make a film for your website
Booster: make a film for your website
Ideas for boosting food sales at your pub including making a film for your website, supporting local crafts and themed food and drink nights. Making...

Ideas for boosting food sales at your pub including making a film for your website, supporting local crafts and themed food and drink nights.

Making a film for your website

Where:​ Greene King lease the Fox Inn, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

The idea:​ Sheila Blackmore, director, says: "We have been at the Fox six years and some customers still say they have only just found us. We advertise on the front page of the local paper, in Suffolk's most popular glossy mag and have a high-profile location in Bury St Edmunds, so we needed to explore other avenues. I decided a short website film to entice customers to the Fox and the delights of Suffolk may do the trick."

What we needed:​ I sourced a local company, Z Solutions, who made our four-minute film in a day. It takes a guided tour around our business and the surrounding area, highlighting places of interest. At £1,800 it was quite expensive, but worthwhile. Our internet marketing company loaded it onto our site and my son played guitar on its soundtrack.

Business benefits:​ Since posting the film and optimising and refreshing the website every couple of weeks, the average number of hits has doubled to more than 2,000 per month. For people planning a big occasion, it's a highly economic use of time.

Top tip:​ Posting a film about you and your locality can promote good relationships with other businesses in the area.

Why do it:​ Potential customers viewing the film will hopefully have every reason to visit us and it gives our website a point of difference.

Supporting local crafts

Where:​ the Fox Inn, Restaurant & Rooms, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, www.thefoxinnbury.co.uk

Tenure:​ Greene King lease

The idea:​ Fox Inn director Sheila Blackmore says: "Trading with provenance is important to my husband, Ron, and I. The merits of taking the time to buy locally from reliable sources are indisputable: food is fresher, has travelled less and its purchase supports the local economy. All our meat is East Anglian and free-range and all fish is landed on British soil. When we built six boutique rooms in 2008 we used a local builder, local materials and spent six months sourcing all fixtures and fittings within a radius of 50 miles.

Our iron and brass beds were made by a family business in north Norfolk, mattresses were ordered from Ipswich, 25 miles away, and all our bedroom furniture was crafted just three miles from the Fox. The ironmongery was forged locally.

What we needed:​ Equipping the rooms with hand-made items was expensive but worthwhile. The same applies to offering organic meat, much from Suffolk. We do it because it fits our ethos. The film on our website publicises our commitment to local businesses, provenance and quality.

Business benefits:​ Other businesses and customers appreciate stance, which encourages repeat custom, loyalty and partnership. Our genuine commitment helps to set us apart.

Top tip:​ It's worth considering the longer-term benefits of what can seem an expensive investment.

Why do it:​ Lasting quality results from great craftsmanship.

Japanese food and drink nights

Where:​ Dog and Pheasant, Brook, Godalming, Surrey, www.dogandpheasant.com

The idea:​ Japanese night. Part of a series of gastronomic evenings, customers were able to order from a Japanese themed menu that included roast pork loin udon noodles, langoustine tail and soft-shell crab tempura, black tiger prawn and red pepper sushi and roast duck and watermelon salad. Sake and Asahi beer were also available. Operations director David Gough says: "Our executive chef has always had a passion for the delicate flavours offered by Japanese food."

What we needed:​ "It's quite hard to theme a 16th century building to match modern Japanese cuisine, so we didn't. We borrowed crockery and bamboo boards from a Japanese restaurant in Guildford, which avoided a big outlay, and other costs for the evening were minimal — extra printed menus and more staff for the kitchen with extra preparation time needed. Our advertising didn't cost us anything. We sent e-flyers to our database of customers and publicised it on menus, blackboards, A-boards and, more importantly, by word of mouth from our team."

Business benefits:​ "We sold 66 covers which is up by 40% on a normal Wednesday night. The Japanese night was part of our first Wednesday-night-of-the-month events and its success has now meant that we have made the decision to run a special menu every Wednesday.

Top tip:​ "Plan well in advance. Plan the menu itself, source the products and trial the dish preparation and presentation."

Why do it:​ A point of difference used to fill customers' diaries and secure patronage.

Related topics: Food trends, Training

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