Paul Pavli: "Hit a sticky patch? Produce a new business plan"

By Paul Pavli

- Last updated on GMT

Spark: Pavli is urging licensees to "rediscover their mojo"
Spark: Pavli is urging licensees to "rediscover their mojo"

Related tags Management Area manager

One thing that never changes in the British pub market is the constant changes. Not only are there the usual internal industry challenges, from changing legislation to mergers and acquisitions, but influential external factors, from the rise of casual-dining concepts to the coffee shop phenomenon, all of which are taking sales from many local pubs.  

MCA Insight has some great reports that show how the market is moving, and one thing I always see is that ‘great pub operators’ everywhere are winning in their marketplaces.

What disappoints and frustrates me, as recently, is when a good operator running a pub with excellent street appeal, great standards and a brilliant range seems to have given up because ‘the area has changed, offices have closed’, and says there is nothing to be done about it.

Case study

The pub in question is adjacent to car parks with around 300 parked vehicles from various (other) offices in the area. It has a great outdoor patio area and is one of those pubs you walk past and think wow, I would cross the road to have a drink there. Yet people haven’t been doing so in high enough numbers.

The publican has been there for over 20 years, doing a great job most of the time. But it seemed like he had lost his spark. I suggested he look at it as if he was taking on the pub for the first time. I asked him to work with the area manager and produce a business plan to decide which market he was going after and how he would do so.

There were some quick wins immediately: he had never put flyers on car windscreens in the car parks, offering a coffee collector card with only one stamp needed for a free coffee; or an offer for office workers such as ‘Fizz Friday’ or a lunchtime deal.


In summary:

  • Think about how your target market may have changed over recent years
  • Walk around – look for fresh opportunities and exploit them
  • Think about your potential customer base and develop offers that will appeal to them
  • Ask your team or loyal customers for ideas, even invite your ‘new target market’ in and ask them what they’d like from your pub
  • Make a plan and action it!

In this instance, I’m sure that once the publican and area manager produce a new marketing plan and communicate it via social media, people living and working around the
pub will visit once again. Interestingly, TripAdvisor comments are very positive, proving what I thought: it’s a great pub that just needs to rediscover its mojo.

Earlier this year, Pavli urged operators to empower their staff in order for their businesses to shine​.

Related topics Punch Pubs & Co Marketing

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