Business Booster

Business Boosters: pop-up painting and "meet the maker"

By PubFood

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Business Boosters: pop-up painting and "meet the maker" event ideas

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Money making ideas for your pub or bar.
Pop-Up Painting events

Where:​ Grange, Ealing, London

Website: ​

Twitter: ​@grangeealing

The idea: ​Monthly painting workshops in the pub’s upstairs function room.

How it works:​ Run by a local, outside company, PopUp Painting, guests are given a step-by-step tutorial on creating their own version of a famous piece of art. Canvasses can then be taken home. Guests are charged £25 per person.

Marketing:​  The social painting events are promoted on the pub’s Facebook and Twitter feeds and website as well as via emails to its database. In-house advertising includes the pub’s community board and What’s On information on the back of its menus.

Be prepared:​ PopUpPainting provide all equipment and materials for the themed event, as well as customised playlists for guests to enjoy whilst painting. Themes have included Van Gogh’s Starry Night and David Hockney’s Arrival Of Spring.
Pay-off: ​Positive feedback from guests with many interested in booking again; attracted a broad cross-section of people; raises profile of the pub.

Key benefits: ​Customers bought drinks and food during the evening; drives mid-week trade; attracts new customers; encourages repeat business.

Advice​: Barbara Smith of the Young’s managed house says: “Use social media to promote your event well and encourage team members to let customers know what’s on and gain feedback after an event has taken place.”

Best outcome: ​The fully-booked event increased takings by approximately £1500

Meet the Maker events

Where:​ Running Horse, Mayfair, London

Website: ​

Twitter: ​@TRHMayfair

The idea: ​A series of events featuring British producers. The evenings are held in The Whip, the pub’s upstairs cocktail bar, which would otherwise be closed on a Monday evening.

How it works:​ For £15 per person, guests of the Enterprise leasehold receive a glass of fizz and canapés whilst listening to a talk from the featured producer. Attendees also benefit from exclusive producer-led discounts plus a 10% saving on the pub’s menu that night.

Marketing:​ The evenings are promoted via email, social media and in-house posters. In the case of the milliner event, targeted flyers were also distributed to London College of Fashion students. The pub invites along journalists and bloggers to each event.

Be prepared:​ Strategic partnerships need to be forged with like-minded British brands; previous contributors have included Herefordshire’s Oliver’s Cider & Perry, James Chase of Chase Distillery, Sussex’s Nyetimber Vineyard and Laura Apsit Livens, a Mayfair-based milliner. An efficient ticket-sales system also needs to be implemented.
Pay-off:​Partnering with luxury and fashion brands helps appeal to a wider customer base and reinforces the quality of the pub’s offering; provides an opportunity for the supplier to promote their product.

Key benefits:​ Gives customers a better understanding of the products sold by the pub; raises awareness of the pub and its brand; drives midweek trade.

Advice​: Josh Craddock, head of marketing and sales at parent company Jacobs Chase Ltd, says: “Talk to other local businesses and see how a simple event, such as Meet the Maker, can be of mutual benefit. Look for businesses with similar qualities - our reputation as London’s finest horse racing pub meant pairing with a milliner was sensibly on brand.

Best outcome:​ Each event attracts around 25 guests.

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