Adding value to your pub's offer can keep trade up

By Mitch Adam

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Value added

Adams: "Instead of heavy discounting, which could risk devaluing your brand, add value to your offer instead"
Adams: "Instead of heavy discounting, which could risk devaluing your brand, add value to your offer instead"
Amidst industry wide disappointment over summer trading & the government’s apparent lack of support for the Great British Pub, hopefully we will all enjoy a bumper festive season to round off 2012. Many publicans, like me, will already be wondering what is in store for 2013. Starting with the traditionally bleak month of January what can be done to keep the trade up?

It’s tempting to offer discount on food or even a 2 for 1 offer to drag the punters in. Just remember these types of deal compete with the big brands that not only have more marketing clout to get their message across but better buying power to make those discounted meals profitable too.

Also think about what might happen in February when your customers are used to paying half price and you try to put things back up, an issue many high street brands have struggled with. A wise man once told me ‘there’s no point being a busy fool’, it’s all well and good having a full pub, but you can’t bank covers.

Instead of heavy discounting, which could risk devaluing your brand, add value to your offer instead. Adding value is all about the service people receive, the choice they get and the experience they have. Independent businesses are often much better at identifying their own resources and expertise and in turn delivering a genuine experience instead of one which feels manufactured.

Award-winning licensee Darren Lingley from the Five Bells, Colne Engaine came up with a clever variation last year offering ‘Double Your Money’ gift vouchers. Customers had to purchase them in December, but if they were spent during January the value was doubled against any food on the bill.

Customers knew they were helping contribute to cash flow and guaranteeing trade at a difficult time of year in return for their discount. Essentially a well disguised 50% off deal and the vouchers also made a great Christmas present!

At the Thatchers this year, we’ve decided to strike a deal with a new local taxi firm to offer our customers a free lift home if they dine with us in January. We’re hoping this deal will encourage people out to our rural location to enjoy a few sherbets with their meal while they still get home safely (and legally!). The taxis aren’t free to us, but we’re sure the additional alcohol sales should more than cover it.

Hopefully combined with some other incentives, including some bin end wines, great food and our usual personal service we’ll see our best January yet.  Hopefully you all will too.

  • Mitch Adams is licensee of the Thatchers Arms in Mount Bures, Essex

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