MA500

Operators need to promote without discounting

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Customer engagement: 7 Saints' Nick Livingstone engages customers with his social media feeds
Customer engagement: 7 Saints' Nick Livingstone engages customers with his social media feeds
Pubs should promote their brand and products without sacrificing cash from the bottom line, operators have been advised.

Nick Livingstone, owner-operator of 7 Saints in Prestwick, near Glasgow, told delegates operators don’t need to discount to promote themselves at The Morning Advertiser​’s MA500 conference in Cardiff today (24 May).

He said: “Discounting is a false economy. It is vanity because it is selling the same dish as the rest of the week, discounting one day and that day will lose them money.

“It is better to be quiet and sell 50 steaks [at full price] than busy selling 100 steaks [at a discounted price].

“[People] get distracted by the sales uplift but [the discount] becomes a customer expectation. It lacks exclusivity and there’s no USP.”

Brand promotion

Livingstone outlined how his business uses social media as a tool to push brand promotion as well as product promotion.

He created a sharing-style dish including various options on different themes, including Mexican. He added: “We have sold 3,300 trays since January this year. Food GP has increased as smaller portions on the tray has meant less kitchen waste. It is at the highest in two years.”

Livingstone explained that he tracks the correlation between sales and promotion by just posting deals on social media and does not advertise it anywhere else, as this is what he did with the promotion of the trays.

He added: “In the past four months, we have had 73% GP and this is being driven by trays as they are such a big part of the food margin.”

In fact, he lauded using social media to push brand promotion and creating a relationship with existing and potential punters.

Core proposition

“We increased brand association with banter, and customers feel a personal connection to the brand,” he said.

However, he warned delegates to consider how they use social media to promote their businesses.

“We came up with a core proposition, we brand it and give it a limited time period. The framework we wanted to really understand was what your customer values, not what you think,” Livingstone added.

“Price is one of the last motivators. Price has to be attractive but value is more important than cheap.”

Related topics: MA Leaders Club

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