Let's promote the positives about pubs

By Rob Willock

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bar, Public house

Willock: "Our industry’s problems stem in part from the way that pubs and bars are perceived by the public, in terms of their suitability as places to spend both leisure time and work time"
Willock: "Our industry’s problems stem in part from the way that pubs and bars are perceived by the public, in terms of their suitability as places to spend both leisure time and work time"
There have been a couple of really positive initiatives launched by the pub industry in recent weeks, and I am going to try to link them together under a general theme of ‘great stuff’, says Rob Willock.

First, I want to mention It’s Better Down The Pub (IBDTP). This national consumer campaign was created by a group of industry stakeholders to celebrate Britain’s passion for pubs. It’s a feel-good initiative designed to remind people why the pub is such a wonderful place to spend their time and money.

It aims to encourage the 80% of adult consumers who describe themselves as pub-goers to make extra visits to their local, and to persuade the 20% who do not to discover what they’re missing.

Licensees have a major role to play in this campaign by tying it into their own promotional activities. Why not get your customers to express what they love most about coming to your pub and use those comments as testimonials on your website, email communications, social-media outlets, print posters, advertisements and A-boards? Video clips and messages can provide potential customers with a real flavour of your pub and its events.

Combine all of this activity under IBDTP branding and benefit from the wider consumer awareness that will build as the campaign is developed.

So that’s all about why it’s great to be a customer of the pub trade. But there’s another parallel effort being undertaken to show that it can be even more rewarding to be an employee of the pub trade.

Engage the next generation
Last week, pubs minister Brandon Lewis launched the Pub & Bar Careers scheme — an initiative from the industry’s Perceptions Group — to promote the diverse and interesting range of employment opportunities offered by the trade.

The Perceptions Group is seeking a commitment from pub industry employers — from the big pubcos to single-site licensees — to offer 15,000 two-week work placements and foundation-level qualifications to young people.

Pre-employment academies and workshops will equip these trainees for their placements, and it is hoped many of those who go through the programme will secure themselves permanent jobs.

Our industry’s problems stem in part from the way that pubs and bars are perceived by the public, in terms of their suitability as places to spend both leisure time and work time.

It is within our gift to persuade people that pubs are no longer just for blue-collar men to engage in vigorous vertical drinking after work; but that they are comfortable, multi-occasion, unisex venues where customers are just as welcome to drop in for a coffee and cake as they are for a lager and packet of pork scratchings. And where the book club is greeted as warmly as the darts team.

It is also in our power to engage the next generation with evidence that a career in pubs and bars is desirable and meaningful. A trade their parents could be proud of.

“Hi Sandra — how’s young Jimmy getting on now he’s left university?”

“He’s got a job working at the Red Lion in town — he’s absolutely loving it, getting some great training and some pretty chunky tips from the customers, who’ve really taken to him. The manager reckons he could be her deputy by the end of the year if he works hard.”

“Oh, that’s fantastic — you must be so pleased.”

Related topics: Legislation

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