Money Makers: Ideas for driving food and drink sales at your pub

By Sheila McWattie and Alison Baker

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Drapers arms, Public house

Youngs' Movember events raised money for charity
Youngs' Movember events raised money for charity
Young’s Movember grooming stations

Where:​ Three Young’s pubs: Finch’s; The Lamb Tavern; Wheatsheaf

The idea​: Pop-up grooming stations for men, offering moustache-trimming and preening, complimentary stout and ale-tasting, were set up over three evenings at three of Young’s London pubs in partnership with grooming company Stubble & Strife and Wells and Young’s brewery to support Movember, the international charity promoting awareness of men’s health including prostate cancer, and boost trade.

How it works: ​Grooming stations ran between 6pm and 8pm at Old Tom’s Bar, at the Lamb Tavern in Leadenhall Market; the Wheatsheaf in Borough Market, and recently opened Finch’s in Moorgate, for Movember participants to have their moustaches trimmed free, while being encouraged to donate to the charity. They were treated to complimentary half-pints of Young’s Stout plus ale-sampling with Wells & Young’s Brewery, courtesy of its beer development executive Andrew Thorburn.

Marketing​: Twitter plugs and a statement to London-wide press.

Be prepared: ​Ensure ample stout supplies and extra kitchen hands to prepare forbusy service.

Payoff: ​Over three evenings, 377 customers participated across all three pubs, including several groups of men staying for dinner. Around £360 in total was raised for Movember.

Key benefits: ​Great buzz and additional dining trade. The trendy barber boys helped to attract younger crowd.

Advice: ​Make plenty of space available and add extra activity such as free stout sampling to optimise engagement.

Best outcome:​ Buzzy atmosphere with great sense of fundraising spirit.


Gladstonbury 2

Where:​ Drapers Arms, Islington, north London

The idea​: Second annual 16-course meal of offal dishes (£50), co-ordinated by Drapers Livery Company leaseholder Nick Gibson, curated by Andrew Clarke of Rita’s Dining and Fleur de Lys, and involving five other leading London-based chefs: Drapers Arms head chef Gina Hopkins; Neil Rankin (Smokehouse and Bad Egg); Henry Harris (Racine); Shaun Searley (The Quality Chop House); Jackson Boxer (Brunswick House).

How it works​: Each chef cooked a starter and main; some also provided snacks and puddings. Some prep was done in their kitchens, with dishes finished at the pub. Seventy guests helped themselves to platters brought to large tables. Dishes included Hopkins’ duck liver, heart & kidney spring rolls, Searley’s pigeons’ brains and Clarke’s foie gras chocolate truffles.

Marketing:​ Chefs and pub team used twitter and Instagram. The Drapers Arms ran a competition releasing some dishes and inviting customers to guess the chef. Tickets were sold via​, which also publicised event.

Be prepared​: Brief guests to arrive punctually and ensure excellent organisation

Pay-off​: Rewarding, fun event spreads enthusiasm and motivates the pub’s head chef by exploring dishes and networking with distinguished peers.


Backgammon nights

Where​: Ship Inn, Wadebridge, Cornwall

The idea​: Monthly backgammon night held in the pub’s bar.

How it works​: On the first Monday of each month, the pub provides a number of backgammon boards for customers to enjoy.

Marketing:​ The event was initially promoted via word of mouth and social media. The pub’s menu now also lists any special events taking place, including the backgammon nights.

Be prepared​: The event is held in the bar area of the pub which has an open fire, adding to the atmosphere of the evening. Alternative board games and packs of cards are also available to use, with some, more experienced, players bringing along their own backgammon sets. A discount card is given to players to use in the pub throughout the month.

Pay-off:​ Provides a positive response to customer demand; creates a talking point; generates customer good will.

Key benefits​: Drives trade and creates a good atmosphere on a quieter night of the week; attracts people back into the pub following an 18 month closure; the discount card ensures further repeat business throughout the month.

Advice:​ Lessee of the Punch Taverns site, Rupert Wilson, says: "Find out if there are any activities that your locals are interested in and then use a couple of them to champion the event. Limit the frequency of the event to avoid dilution of numbers attending."

Best outcome​: Between 10 and 15 regular attendees.


Related topics: Marketing

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