The great British pub is right at the heart of all of our communities and an important part of the country’s tourist trade. Beer and pubs contribute a massive amount to the UK GDP and generate billions in tax revenue. With around 85% found in rural locations, pubs bring jobs and income to parts of the UK that need it the most.
However, this British business isn’t without its challenges. There are 21,000 fewer pubs in the UK today than in 1980, and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) estimates there are 14 pubs closing every week. So, how do sleepy pubs turn into busy watering holes? Here’s our view on how to pull more pints.
Keep up with the trends
As a pub, it’s essential to keep on top of food and drink trends that will encourage your customers to come back for more. For pubs serving food, it’s worth taking note of the top trend this year, which is vegetarian and vegan options.
The ability to include vegetarian options and cater to dietary restrictions (whether gluten-free, lactose-free, etc.) will help potential customers consider your pub as an eating-out option.
Quite simply put, the addition of veggie burgers or a health conscious menu item will entice customers to spend more at your pub.
Gastropubs are here to stay and the ones that move beyond traditional Sunday lunches and fish and chips can attract people who might have previously chosen a wine bar or small restaurant for a meal.
Promotions and happy hours
Drinks promotions are a tried and tested way of getting customers through the door, and happy hours still put a smile on many publicans’ faces as they draw in the crowds. However, savvy pubs are using meal deals to attract customers to stay longer – and therefore spend more.
These pubs are bridging the gap between a traditional pub and a full-service restaurant. Casual dining is something that remains a favourite pastime, and the average Brit spends about 15% of their monthly budget on leisure (which includes eating out).
Be part of your community
Your location is an asset, so make use of it to strengthen your place in the community. Keep in touch with local groups and make your pub a meeting point for parents with kids, cyclists on road trips, book clubs and meet-up groups.
Music has always been part of the pub experience and although some venues struggle to keep neighbours happy with the noise levels, the live music scene is here to stay and pubs can benefit from the way a good act can draw in a crowd.
The desire to try local produce, microbrewed beer, food and drink from the neighbouring continues to grow. Are you taking advantage by sharing local products with your regular customers?
Get the right tech
Mobile EPoS has usually been a luxury available to larger brands or high street chains; however, an increase in affordable app development has changed everything and now pubs are getting in on the act. Offering patrons access to a waiter with an iPad, and being able to take orders in the beer garden can greatly increase sales. It also improves customer service at the bar, making it a worthy investment overall.
We’ve touched on adapting your menu to cater to evolving preferences and trends, but shaking up the menu at different times of the year is also another way to ensure your customers don’t get bored and go elsewhere. Try introducing a refreshing summer drinks menu — perhaps a house cocktail that will encourage your customers to try something new.
If you’re only offering house creations for a certain period of time, customers are more likely to try them as they know these won’t be on the menu for long. In addition to summer drinks, offer your customers a lighter summer menu. Traditional pub roasts are great for winter months, however, during the summer, customers want lighter dishes that will go down well with the new summer drinks menu.
According to British consumer market researcher NPD, people are visiting pubs less frequently than they did six years ago. However, more people still go at least once per month compared to how often they visit a fast-food restaurant or coffee shop.
Food is often a gateway to commercial success and more pubs are appealing to a range of customer needs — from the ‘swift half’ to the ‘family meal’. Fewer than one in 10 visits to a pub are now drink-only occasions. This means you should think about what you’re offering food-wise, how you’re drawing in locals and tourists, and what unique experience your pub provides.
The pub has some heavy competition – as it always has. Long live the pub.
For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org telephone 020 3695 9599 or visit lightspeedhq.co.uk