Healthy set menu
Where: Victoria, East Sheen, London
The idea: Healthy two course set menu.
How it works: The menu is available from Monday to Friday, at both lunch and dinner services. For £17, guests enjoy two courses plus coffee with dishes including spinach and feta salad with Kalamata olive Puy lentils, Asian chicken broth with edamame, bean shoots and chilli and the very popular poached egg on wholegrain toast with crushed avocado, steamed spinach and pumpkin seeds. The pub runs a weekday set menu throughout the year, but since Christmas has focussed on a healthier offering.
Marketing: Marketing has been kept relatively low-key with coverage on Twitter as well as in-house promotion and inclusion in the pub’s monthly e-newsletter.
Be prepared: The menu focusses on reasonably priced restaurant-style food featuring unusual grains such as frikeh, pulses, miso, tofu and superfood ingredients such as pomegranate, salmon and spinach.
Pay-off: Appeals to an increasing number of health-conscious customers, particularly those exercising in nearby Richmond Park.
Key benefits: Increased interest in set menu; when offered throughout the year, provides a point of difference.
Advice: Chef-director of the Enterprise Inns leasehold pub, Paul Merrett, says: “Don’t be too gimmicky and keep your restaurant’s values at the core of the menu. Avoid tokenism - make sure you do your research and understand healthy food as customers are often very knowledgeable in this area.”
Best outcome: The pub is now considering running a healthy set menu on an ongoing basis.
Where: Ship Inn, Wadebridge, Cornwall
The idea: Monthly jazz Sunday lunches.
How it works: Starting at 12.45pm, the group played two 45 minute sets with a short break in between. The pub ran its usual Sunday lunch menu, increasing the price of roast dishes by £2 each to cover the cost of the musicians.
Marketing: The lunches were promoted mainly via word of mouth but also through the pub’s social media sites and on in-house posters. Both musicians also had a local following which helped spread the word.
Be prepared: The pub had to find the right musicians to suit the style of music it wanted; the set performed was based around the Great American Songbook. The musicians performed in the pub’s Upper Deck dining space, an area with great acoustics and a high vaulted ceiling, so that the music could be heard throughout its two dining levels.
Pay-off: Helps to establish the pub as an alternative music venueto others in the local area; the pub has now also established a monthly folk club.
Key benefits: Uplift in Sunday lunch trade; offers a point of difference.
Advice: Lessee of the Punch Taverns site, Rupert Wilson, says: “Evaluate what other venues are doing. Is there a genre of music that is not catered for locally but suits what you are trying to achieve and also your customers? Create a classic playlist that is well enough known to appeal to customers. They will spread the word and create support for the event.”
Best outcome: 60% increase in Sunday lunch covers