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Event and promotional ideas for your pub

By PubFood

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pork

Cider and hog roast festival at the Water Poet in east London
Cider and hog roast festival at the Water Poet in east London
Event and promotional ideas for your pub

Cider & Hog Roast Festival

The Water Poet, Spitalfields, east London

Twitter:​ @thewaterpoet

The idea: ​A two-day event at this busy freehold over the late May bank holiday Sunday and Monday with live music in the beer garden attracted around 400 new and regular customers, enjoying a wide selection of ciders and large hog roast.

How it works:​ A free event where people came to listen to live music and sample a wide range of ciders such as Annings fruit cider, Thistly Cross from Scotland, Hallets Welsh cider and New Forest alongside a hog roast in the garden. Tickets were sold for a pint of cider (£4.50) or hog roast (£7) or both for £10.

Marketing: ​Pub website, social media, in-house publicity and London event websites such as Bar Chick (​)

Be prepared: ​Food must be spit-roasted to perfection in the garden in time for the festival crowd’s arrival. Use a ticketed system to prevent overcrowding in the garden where drinks are purchased.

Pay-off:​ The event was a huge success, with the hog roast and most ciders selling out.

Key benefits: ​Great way to introduce new customers by showcasing the venue, its food and drink.

Advice: ​Demand is often high in good weather, so stock up carefully

Best outcome: ​At least 800 tickets were sold in total across the two days, doubling usual takings on each day, with evening drinks takings on the Sunday dramatically increased.

Tasty Tuesdays

Where:​ Parcel Yard, Leicester


Twitter​: @the parcelyardSB

The idea: ​Customers receive avoucher for 25% off their bill when dining on a Tuesday

How it works:​ The Bank of Billy voucher is available to download from the pub’s website and can be used by both individuals and groups during both lunchtime and evening services.

Marketing: ​The discount is promoted via social media and newsletters to the company’s 5000-strong database, providing a link through to the downloadable voucher on the pub’s website.

Be prepared: ​An EPOS system allows managers to view how much discount has been given each week. This is then attributed to the pub’s marketing budget. Steamin’ Billy promotions are specific to each of its eight sites and are designed to be relevant to each outlet’s customer-base.

Pay-off: ​Appeals to office workers in the area; provides a source of data capture for the group’s mailing list; the substantial discount rewards regular customers; generates traffic through the pub’s website; attracts customers to other events run by the pub.

Key benefits:​ Increases footfall on a quieter trading day. Creates a regular Tuesday customer-base as well as increasing the average size of group bookings.

Advice: ​Leighton Turner, operations manager for parent company Steamin’ Billy Brewing Company, says: “Make sure that your offer is attractive and that staff are aware of it. Although we market a Bank of Billy voucher, the discount is also given to walk-in trade.”

Best outcome: ​Tuesday covers have increased by 30%

Top 10 dishes promotion

Where:​ Ye Old Sun, Colton, Tadcaster, North Yorkshire


Twitter​: @yeoldsuncolton

The idea: ​To celebrate the pub’s 10th​ birthday, its top 10 dishes from across the years were offered at a discounted price.

How it works:​ The promotion ran from Monday to Thursday throughout the month of June. Each week, two or three top selling dishes were offered during both lunch and dinner services.

Marketing: ​The promotion ran alongside a range of other 10th​ birthday special offers. The pub ran a press campaign in the local paper, distributed flyers to local villages and used both social media and in-house advertising, as well as the home page of its website, to market the range of deals.

Be prepared: ​Dishes were carefully selected to represent those that had previously sold well on the pub’s specials board and encompassed both a pub classic and a more restaurant-style dish. No set discount was given but dishes were offered at the lowest price possible. For example, sausage and mash, which would usually be on the menu at £12.95, was offered at £7.50. Regular suppliers were approached to secure competitive deals on produce.

Pay-off: ​Promotes the pub and lets people know, that after 10 years of trading, it is still relevant.

Key benefits:​ Increased footfall and takings – spend per head was down only slightly as customers often added a dessert to their order. The promotion has brought in new faces and numbers signing up for the pub’s loyalty card scheme have increased considerably.

Advice: ​Licensee Ashley McCarthy says:“Make sure your offer and its marketing are well organised and that staff have been trained on the range of promotions available and on how to upsell.”

Best outcome: ​Takings were well above those expected in June


Related topics: Events & Occasions

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