Top tips for serving Rugby World Cup food

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Pubs are expected to take a big chunk of the £2.1bn the Rugby World Cup will bring to the UK economy
Pubs are expected to take a big chunk of the £2.1bn the Rugby World Cup will bring to the UK economy

Related tags Rugby world cup

Food-serving pubs will make a bigger play of Rugby World Cup-themed dishes this year, after Deloittes reported the event would bring £2.1bn to the British economy, the majority of which would be spent in the hospitality sector.

The tournament, which will start on 18 September, last six weeks and take place at sporting venues across the UK, is predicted to attract more than 466,000 overseas visitors to UK hospitality businesses, as well as millions of UK residents, according to a recent Rugby World Cup report.

Many pub chefs are preparing to simplify their menus to serve as much food as possible in a short space of time.

Paul Eastwood, manager of the TCG managed pub the Famous Three Kings in Fulham, London, said: “When matches are showing, we’ll be offering a sports menu of easy-to-cook, popular items, such as burgers, hot dogs, nachos, and fish and chips.”

For bigger games, the manager had planned to open a ‘mini bar’, where whole or slices of pizza would be sold and served.

“We are very busy during matches, but we want to continue serving food as we know a lot of our customers want to eat while they view,” Eastwood added.

‘Manage expectations’

“It’s important to manage their expectations so we always advise of waiting times on food.”

It would be inappropriate to stick to the pub’s full menu during matches as there would be too many people passing through, he claimed.

“And during matches, most customers prefer to have a hand-held snack so that they can keep their eyes on the sporting action at all times.”

Another pub preparing to change its menu during matches is Richmond’s Sun Inn, according to land lady Margie Clarke.

“The dynamics of the pub will change – we’ll remove a lot of the tables and won’t serve a dinner menu,” she said.

Instead the Sun Inn, which has been hosting Rugby World Cup events for almost 30 years, would put on a barbecue.

Food served from the barbecue would include: half-pound burgers with bacon and cheese, rib-eye steaks, quarter-pound burgers and sausages, Clarke said.

‘We don’t need a lot of staff’

“Barbecuing means we don’t need a lot of staff to serve customers, because they come up and get it themselves,” she explained.

“We know what sells best at these sorts of things and we’re making the most of it.”

Pubs should aim to be as quick and as efficient with food service as possible, advised Catering supplier Stephenson’s.

“There’s nothing worse than being in a busy bar or pub and having to wait a long time for food and drink,” managing director Henry Stephenson said.

“Provide foods that are quick and easy to serve, such as burgers and hot dogs. Increase revenue by relieving pressure on the bar and allocate staff to cleaning up glasses and plates,” he added. “Pre-empt a back-log of dirty glasses by keeping some emergency disposable ones in reserve.”

Watch out for Stephenson’s top five tips for making the most of the 2015 Rugby World Cup later.

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