Beer — It’s An Affordable Treat

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pint, Costa coffee

Daniels: ubs must stop obsession with price
Daniels: ubs must stop obsession with price
“Whoever says buying beer in a pub is expensive,” I wrote on my pub’s Twitter and Facebook feeds on Tuesday, “has clearly never bought two coffees in Costa...”

The timing of my tweet carried fortuitous irony given that, as I posted it, Costa Coffee’s owners Whitbread were announcing an almost 10% increase in like-for-like sales on the past quarter for that sector of their business.
I didn’t know that, however; I sent the tweet while sitting in a branch of Costa Coffee with my wife, balking at the fact that it had just cost me substantially more than a tenner for two coffees and a couple of biscuits.
There’s nothing new about coffee shop prices, and it has long been documented that the struggling pub world could learn a lesson or two from companies such as this: high margins, desirable products, trendy environments influenced by sitcoms such as Friends that encourage metrosexual man to take his date for a latte and a banana muffin rather than a pint and a packet of salt & vinegar.
But while we remain obsessed in this business over the fact that the price of an average pint of beer has reached £3.00, Whitbread’s Finance Director Christopher Rogers attributes the success of the coffee shop industry to the fact that its core product remains “an affordable treat...”
So if people think paying over three quid for a Caramel Macchiato is acceptable, why can’t the same be thought for a pint of Abbot Ale?
Pubs have got a poor image, exacerbated by the media, but the experience of going in to a pub needn’t be worse than going in to a coffee shop — during my visit I was faced with a grumpy member of staff, a shop full of parents at the end of their tethers with hyperactive kids still one day away from school, and a table that clearly hadn’t been on the receiving end of a cleaning cloth for a little while.
Most of the pubs I visit are clean, with friendly staff, and a vast range of products to cater for the majority of their customers.
We need to change the public’s perception of going for a beer — and we need to stop the obsession with its price.
A night out at the cinema can be financially crippling, yet people still love doing it, and a couple of weeks ago a night at the theatre with my wife and two boys set me back almost £200.
There are some establishments where a tenner wouldn’t buy you ten minutes but, on an occasion when a customer muttered that his sixty pound bill at the end of the night was a bit steep, I couldn’t help pointing out that he and his girlfriend had spent six hours in my pub having fun with friends, enjoying live entertainment and a bite to eat.
We need, therefore, to get some perspective back in our industry and start reminding our customers that, like coffee, beer too can be an affordable treat.

Related topics: Beer

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