The promise of fun and entertainment can prove a strong draw.
“People want to relax and have a laugh with friends when they’re in a pub,” explains Carl Ranson, sales director at Lounge Lizzard Entertainment Systems.
He describes the winning recipe for a good night out as a combination of exciting drinks, good food and memorable entertainment. “That’s what ensures repeat custom,” he says.
So how can pubs boosts profit through entertainment? We ask suppliers for their insight and advice.
Touch screen entertainment
Touch screen entertainment systems are changing the way licensees manage their entertainment, says Scott Williams, operations director at Mediatheme.
“Touch screen systems like The Entertainer from Mediatheme provide a powerful and effective business tool,” he explains. “Licensees get an endless flow of fun events and entertainment for their customers.”
The Entertainer is designed to drive footfall, increase dwell time and maximise customer spend – by giving pubs total control over their entertainment programmes.
Williams explains: “Because it’s so simple to use, licensees can provide entertainment themselves rather than paying third parties for music, discos, quizzes or casino nights.”
Touch screen systems also make it easier for pubs to find the right type of entertainment for their customers, according to Ranson from Lounge Lizzard.
“From afternoon bingo to karaoke nights, entertainment comes in many guises. There’s something for all ages and all tastes,” says Ranson.
The Lounge Lizzard system offers music, karaoke, quizzes, bingo, race nights and a range of other games. It also has an advertising platform, which allows pubs to create still or video ads to promote their events on the TV screens.
Pulling in the crowds
Karl Hunter, director at HFE Signs, says pubs are now staging more events to tempt customers. But to get people through the door, they need to advertise effectively.
“Pubs have had to diversify to remain competitive, by running themed events such as a curry or steak night, a quiz or Saturday disco,” Hunter points out.
He says the large PVC banners that pubs can order from suppliers like HFE Signs will help make a success of their events.
“It’s been proven that outdoor display is not only an effective way of marketing a business, but also a very cheap method of advertising. A banner could cost as little as the average price of a round of drinks in your pub!”
More and more venues have been selling pub lottery tickets to increase profits over the past few years, according to Alan Branch at InterClub Lotteries.
InterClub’s Uno machines dispense pre-printed lottery tickets, which Branch says give an average, VAT-free profit to the landlord of more than £400 per box.
A big attraction for pubs is that this type of lottery machine requires no licence because 20% of the ticket price is donated to a registered charity.
Branch says: “The pub keeps all the profit from the machines, after giving the donation to charity and paying out the winnings to customers. And more often than not, at least some of the winnings are spent over the bar.”
He adds: “Not only are they a way for publicans to support worthwhile causes, but they also generate VAT-free income.”
The standard Entertainer from Mediatheme comes with music, videos, karaoke, bingo, race nights, quizzes, games and advertising features. It can be set up to allow two different activities to be played in different rooms at the same time.
A low-cost system, The Solo+, comes with music, advertising and karaoke, and pubs can add games, bingo, racing or quiz packs. They can also add the coin-operated Pulse jukebox to the system, and keep all cashbox takings.
HFE Signs’ award-winning display banners help advertise themed nights to existing and potential customers. Pubs just upload their logo and images on www.hfe-signs.co.uk.
The outdoor-grade PVC banners start from £13.99, with free delivery on orders of two or more.
HFE has also recently introduced a wooden rustic A-board to its range, as an alternative to a modern-looking pavement swing sign.
Lounge Lizzard’s touch screen total entertainment system provides access to music, karaoke, quizzes, bingo, race nights and a host of other games, for a weekly subscription.
New content is added each week via the internet. The touch screen, which sits behind the bar, is linked to a sound system and the pub’s TVs.
The system can also be linked to a wall-mounted, coin-operated jukebox, from which the venue keeps 100% of the takings.
InterClub Lotteries installs free lottery machines, and supplies the lottery tickets. Customers pay £1 for a ticket, with the chance of winning a jackpot of between £100 and £250.
A pub only pays for the tickets it has sold at the end of each month, and generally nets about 20% of the cost of each ticket – takings are VAT-free.
The company’s Uno lottery machines take coins, and can be mounted on the wall or a stand. No licence is required, as money is raised for a registered charity.