Barking up the money tree: dogs improve business in pubs

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Paws for thought: some 76% of managers in hospitality think health and safety laws stop dogs from being on the premises
Paws for thought: some 76% of managers in hospitality think health and safety laws stop dogs from being on the premises

Related tags Kennel club Dog

Almost all (98%) dog-friendly pubs believe four-legged customers improve businesses, according to new Kennel Club research.

These figures have been released by the Kennel Club to mark the start of this year’s Be Dog Friendly Week (Monday 24 to Friday 28 July) and aims to encourage more businesses to trial a dog-friendly policy.

Dogs and pubs in numbers:

251 managers were surveyed

251 different venues were surveyed

94 businesses that are currently not dog-friendly responded

97% of all dog-friendly businesses believe dogs have improved business

73% of businesses would consider being dog friendly if owners could prove their pets were well trained

76% of managers wrongly believe that health and safety laws may prevent dogs from being on the premises

Figures from the Kennel Club

There are also common misconceptions around allowing man’s best friend in public spaces and premises, including that health and safety laws do not permit dogs into venues.

When pub, café and restaurant managers were asked about this, 76% thought health regulations meant animals could not enter their venue (apart from guidance dogs).

However, this is not the case and it is only food preparation areas which are out of bounds, meaning there can be dog access everywhere else, including where food is sold and served, at the management’s discretion.

The Kennel Club has urged pubs to trial a dog-friendly policy to see the positive impact it could have on their business in a bid to combat the spiralling rate of pub closures.

The survey also found that 82% of all pub managers questioned stated they had noticed a rise in social interaction between guests when dogs were on the site.

No easy answer

More than three-quarters (79%) also attributed an improved overall atmosphere to the presence of dogs.

Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) national chairman Colin Valentine praised the research but stressed there was no easy answer to solving Britain’s ‘pub crisis’.

He said: “Pubs play a vital part in many people’s lives, providing a place to meet and socialise and feel part of their community.

“It therefore makes sense that in many cases a dog-friendly policy will help attract footfall to a local, particularly when paired with some great walking routes nearby.

“There are a number of different factors facing Britain’s pubs, ranging from high business rates to competition from supermarkets.

“We support any measures that [might help] publicans remain in business, which can sometimes be achieved by diversifying a pub’s offering so more people visit.

“There is however, no simple solution to solving Britain’s pub crisis, and it is up to the individual publican to decide what the right business decision is for their pub.”

Change of heart

Some 73% of businesses within the hospitality industry do not allow dogs and said they would consider changing their stance on canines if owners could prove their dogs had been trained to a certain standard.

Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko highlighted how the research shows that enforcing a dog-friendly policy can help a pub keep its doors open.

She said: “British pubs are an integral part of our society and while it is important the public should support them, it is also essential that pub owners do everything within their power to make their venue the kind of place people will want to visit time and again.

“Dog owners and their pets are a key part of any community and as these statistics show, they have proven themselves to be an asset to many pubs across the country by spending their time and money as well as helping to create a nice atmosphere.

“With one in four British households owning a dog, people will always be in need of places where their four-legged friends are also made to feel welcome.

“The Kennel Club strongly encourages businesses across all industries to learn more about the benefits of being dog friendly and our Be Dog Friendly Week is the perfect time to give dogs a chance to prove they can be a great addition to any client base.”

Kisko called on the pub industry last year to be more dog friendly​ because of the proven benefits for businesses that welcome our four-legged friends.

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