Pub food: business boosters

By PubChef

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bury st edmunds Business benefits Butcher

Fish and chips: business lunch
Fish and chips: business lunch
Ideas for driving food and drink sales including a meet the butcher event and seasonal business lunches.

Meet the Butcher event

Where: Nobody Inn, Doddiscombsleigh, Devon,

The idea: Butchery demonstration and barbecue. Susan Burdge, owner of the freehold pub, says: "The event was a progression from our regular wine dinners, where guests are able to meet the wine maker, and involved our butcher, J&A Gibbins, from Exeter. The demonstration used interesting cuts of meat suitable for barbecuing, such as rabbit and French-trimmed lamb, and showed guests different butchering techniques such as boning out belly pork and tying up a whole sirloin. Guests paid £12.50 per person, which included the barbecue and a cocktail."

What we needed: "Our butcher was only too happy to help and sent along a master butcher for the evening. The décor and layout of the marquee were changed for each of the eight events we ran during the week and, in this case, we sat guests in a half moon layout so that everyone could see what was going on. The demonstration lasted 40 minutes during which time guests were able to try out some of the techniques. Our chef had already prepared the same cuts of meat himself, which we served from the barbecue, while our mixologist made cocktails. We advertised on our website and via posters and flyers, which we put up in local shops, petrol stations and the post office, as well as in-house. All of the events were advertised on one A4 glossy flyer, which cost £60 per 2,000 to print. We also provided guests with marinade and cocktail recipe sheets to take home."

Business benefits: "We sold 50 tickets, which was as many as we wanted. A few people switched from eating in the restaurant to attend the demonstration, but, otherwise, restaurant trade was unaffected. The evening brought in a lot of new customers, including some local farmers who wanted to see what happens to their meat once they have sold it, so the event was great for promoting links with suppliers and demonstrating the quality of the meat we serve."

Top tip: Let guests have a go to make the demonstration more interactive and entertaining.

Belgian beer festival

Where: The Alfred, Meanwood, Leeds

The idea: A five-day festival over the Easter weekend, celebrating the best and most interesting beers Belgium has to offer.

What we needed: Manager Duncan Smith says: "Our main supplier, James Clay, offers a huge range of Belgian beers, so getting hold of the products was easy. We decorated the venue with Belgian bunting and offered freshly baked cakes using the festival beers: Timmermans strawberry beer & Belgian white chocolate marble cake, and Kasteel Rouge & Belgian dark chocolate sour cherry cake. Menus with tasting notes and quirky stories about the beers helped customers make informed decisions. Our social networking sites were our main marketing source and we displayed posters in the venue."

Business benefits: "We saw strong sales over the weekend and now sell a wider range of our products as we have opened the door to our customers wanting to try new beers. It was our first bank holiday weekend since we opened in February. We estimate that about 60% to 70% of festival customers were responding to advertising or word-of-mouth publicity."

Top tips: "Ensuring that the team had the knowledge to sell the products was the key to our success. Beer-tasting sessions are a

must and being able to pass on information about the background and history of the beers and breweries that make them helps your customers to feel involved."

Seasonal business lunches

Where: The Fox Inn, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk,

The idea: Business networking with wow-factor food. Proprietor Sheila Blackmore says: "I attend several networking events in Bury St Edmunds. I enjoy meeting new people and it promotes my business effectively. To encourage local businesses to sample our freshly prepared food at the pub,

I decided to organise my own quarterly seasonal networking events. Our chefs' remit is bite-sized food with the wow factor."

What we needed: "We promote these lunches via in-house advertising and our website; email our database of local business contacts using MailChimp; spread the news by word of mouth via business customers and by attending networking events."

Business benefits: "Around 30-35 business directors, owners and senior managers attend, paying £15 each. We celebrate the new season's produce and promote our way of serving food to encourage repeat business.

The event starts at noon with a welcome drink of the attendee's choice. Name badges are supplied and business cards are put into a hat to win dinner for two. After allowing guests to mingle and chat for a while, they are served a sumptuous two-course seasonal finger buffet, which has included delicious oysters, crab cakes with melting watercress centres, and mini east coast haddock and hand-cut chips."

Top tips: "Start promoting a month before and send reminders. Ensure businesses book a place, and aim for a balance of the type of businesses you attract."

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