Bordeaux wine and food event
Where: the Feathers Inn, Hedley-on-the-Hill, Northumberland
The idea: Wine writer and educator Helen Savage discusses Bordeaux wines, each matched by a different dish in a five-course meal prepared by this award-winning freehold pub’s owner and chef Rhian Cradock.
How it works: Collaboration with local independent wine shop and wine expert to choose wines, design menu and create and market fun evening.
Marketing: Email, Twitter, Facebook, in-house.
Be prepared: Have enough wine glasses. Chill white, sparkling and rosé wines in advance and provide the correct number of bottles per guest, avoiding over-ordering. Ensure reds are at correct temperature and open before serving to allow to breathe, decanting if necessary.
Pay-off: Improves midweek business, usually selling out all 40 places (£50 each), and promotes positive relationships with customers. The night is regarded as a great bargain, with customers getting a very good deal, which reflects positively on the team and business in terms of value offered without having to do promotions.
Key benefits: Everyone enjoys the experience and customers appreciate added value.
Advice: Don’t over-serve wine. People want to still taste the last wine and not feel over-faced with food.
Best outcome: Customer loyalty is rewarded with a special, memorable evening.
Where: Spread Eagle, Camden, London
The idea: Traders from nearby Camden market spoke about their business set-ups.
How it works: Three traders and a representative from the market office spoke about how they started up their businesses and the realities of working on Camden market as well as offering business advice and insights to guests. The event was held in the pub’s upstairs private hire space.
Marketing: The event was promoted through the pub’s social media sites, via mailers to its database, on flyers both in the pub and distributed around the local area and on A–boards outside.
Be prepared: Speakers needed to be booked but agreed to speak for free in return for an opportunity to promote their businesses. No charge was made for people to attend.
Pay-off: Creates links with Camden market and its traders; provided inspiration for future events as well as a good opportunity for networking; offered insight to those looking to start their own businesses.
Key benefits: Introduced new people to the pub; increased food and drink sales on an otherwise quiet night.
Advice: Manager of the Young’s site Rebecca Davidson says: “If you have passionate speakers with interesting stories it’ll be a successful evening.”
Best outcome: Around 20 people attended the event. The pub now plans to hold another event focusing on social media for small businesses.