Businesses must blame themselves for poor trade, says McVeigh

By Robert Mann contact

- Last updated on GMT

Casual chaos: Charlie McVeigh claims that businesses have lost sight of their customers in recent years
Casual chaos: Charlie McVeigh claims that businesses have lost sight of their customers in recent years
With the casual-dining market recently experiencing upheaval and challenges, experienced pub operator Charlie McVeigh says losing sight of their customer is the reason businesses are suffering.

Fresh from his appearance on the BBC’s My Million Pound Menu​, McVeigh addressed delegates at The Morning Advertiser​’s MA500 event this month (13 February) at Stamford Bridge in Chelsea, west London.

“The challenges that businesses are facing are because, in my opinion, they have lost sight of the customer and, essentially, their branding,” McVeigh explained.

“I believe, very passionately indeed, that a good, well-run business, which looks after its staff and customers, will exceed its expectations and continue to thrive in pubs and casual dining.

'Lost sight of it'

“It seems, however, hospitality has lost sight of it – I’ve looked at the numbers – they’re not great and, ultimately, sales are flat.”

McVeigh concluded by sharing how to survive during turbulent times, especially when independent operators are finding it harder to compete against bigger commercial chains.

He said: “It’s all about doing the simple things well because, in the end, it’s really about the culture of service and the culture of consistency.

“There is a collective loss of confidence in businesses and usually that’s a great opportunity for investment.

“I think there are some wonderfully run independents out there, but it becomes harder and harder to compete with bigger businesses.

“Almost inevitably, independents can’t afford to compete with bigger companies that can spend money on marketing.

'A sad outcome'

“It is probably, and potentially, a sad outcome that small independents will continue to fizz out as they look fight an ongoing battle to attract new trade against larger commercial chains."

McVeigh sold his Draft House business to Scottish brewer and operator BrewDog​ in March 2018 for £15m.

BrewDog took full ownership of the entire Draft House estate of 14 bars across London and the south-east.

All 213 of Draft House employees joined BrewDog, and the brewer offers all Draft House staff Cicerone training, as well as support if they wish to apply to the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and the Beer Judge Certification Program.

Related topics: MA500 Business Club

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