In a decision that caused concern among many of its tenants and lessees, Stonegate had launched a new system as part of a “transformation” of its marketing support to operators, a move which saw the business asking operators to fund half the costs of branded glassware, with the pubco picking up the rest.
The move was part of what the company hoped would allow them to reallocate marketing spend within the business away from glassware and into other initiatives that they hoped would provide better support for its pub partners.
However, operators viewed the decision differently, and voiced their concerns to the Morning Advertiser. One licensee describing it as one more “added cost” and said the move had left them feeling like “second class citizens”.
As previously reported by The Morning Advertiser, operators expressed trepidations the additional charges would impact the quality of both beer and service, making publicans appear less professional.
The reaction has now prompted a rethink within Stonegate and the company has now announced it is scrapping the charge to operators for glassware.
A spokesperson said: “Over the past six months Stonegate has reviewed the marketing support we provide to Pub Partners, including how to best use supplier marketing budgets to support our publicans to grow their sales and attract new customers. Historically, the majority of this budget funded branded glassware, which was distributed on an ad-hoc basis and therefore not always available to all publicans.
“In launching the marketing toolkit, which included branded glassware at 50% of the supplier cost, our objective was to better serve the needs of today’s publican through generating exciting business building and creative marketing initiatives whilst making branded glassware fairly available to all. However, following feedback from some of our Pub Partners, we have listened and reassessed the current support needs and will be removing the 50% charge and ask that our Pub Partners continue to order only the branded glassware needed, to ensure fair distribution, as we continue to drive some of the marketing initiatives to help to grow sales.”
The company stressed the move had never been about creating a revenue stream from glassware, but was simply about trying to better allocate marketing budgets within the business: “For clarity, Stonegate has not received any money from glassware sales, with supplier budgets being utilised to drive business across a broader range of business support.”