Try January: A fightback against those harming our business

By Jeffrey Bell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Lobbying Public house The agenda

Jeff Bell: Try January 'encourages us to be imaginative'
Jeff Bell: Try January 'encourages us to be imaginative'
Dry January? Don’t get me started. It’s dressed up as virtuous and a way of raising funds for good cause; in fact it’s a neo-prohibitionist ploy by well-paid executives at political lobbying organisations that masquerade as charities.

Meanwhile the hospitality industry - a source of tax revenue and job creator - gets a kick in the teeth.

Remember that Christmas isn’t always fun for everyone: it can be a time when stress or feelings of isolation can get the better of some. Pubs have a unique social role, and encouraging people to boycott them during the most dreary month of the year is hardly philanthropic. This is another reason why the harsh abstentionism of “Dry January” is such a bad idea.

The Try January initiative has caught the attention of those of us in this trade precisely because it’s a clear attempt to fight back against the agenda of those who would recklessly do harm to our own businesses, the broader economy and, indeed, the gaiety of the nation.

After a season of over-indulgence, its message that January should be about trying new things - exercising discernment rather than just stuffing one’s face in a formulaic fashion - is surely positive.

Try January encourages us to be imaginative to overcome what can be a slow month of trade by engaging with our customers to make our offer distinctive. It’s a fact that people choose to come back to places that offered them something new and exciting.

If in January we can build up customer loyalty for the long year ahead, next Christmas our only problem will be balancing the needs of our new regulars with the inevitable influx of seasonal tinsel-heads.

And that’s always a nice problem to have.

Jeff Bell is the licensee of the Finborough Arms​ in Earls Court and writes his own blog​. 

Follow #TryJanuary on Twitter to keep up-to-date with pub, bars and restaurants activity and new offers throughout the month.

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