Pubs in Decline: How to Engage Customers and Save Your Pub

By SME Insurance

Posted 05/04/18

save your pub

The number of pubs in the UK is in steady decline, with the latest data from CAMRA showing that 18 businesses are calling their final last orders every week [1].

At the same time, the number of people buying alcohol to drink at home has increased [2], showing that punters are choosing cheaper drinks and a night in over splurging on a round at their local pub.

However, with the majority (57%) of beer and cider drinkers finding new experiences more exciting than new products there is opportunity here, so it’s important that pubs focus on providing an experience that is worth leaving the house for [3].

So let’s look at some of the ways pubs can look past stocking balloon glasses of gin and unusual craft beers to focus on providing a memorable, quality service for customers.

Become Dog friendly

97% of pub owners who allow dogs onto their premises say they’ve added value to their business, with 82% noticing increased levels of social interaction between customers and almost as many reporting an improved atmosphere [4]. With over 8.5 million dog owners in the UK, becoming dog-friendly could be incredibly lucrative to your business.

However, hopefully you won’t need to go quite as far as the dedicated owner of the Dreadnought in Edinburgh, who slept on the floor of his pub overnight in order to keep a dog company which had been forgotten by its owner [5].

Foster Community Spirit

Somerset’s Packhorse Inn narrowly avoided being turned into flats and has been reopened thanks to the 500 local residents who clubbed together to buy it and restore it to its former glory [6]. This heart-warming story shows just how much pubs mean to their locals. We’re not suggesting that you try and sell your pub to the locals, but how can you get them more involved? Speak to them and find out what it is they would like – whether that’s a different menu or putting on events.

Develop a Quality Food Menu

Pubs that generate more sales from food are more likely to attract a wider audience, and perform better than pubs that place a stronger focus on drinks. This move in the pub industry to improve the quality of food, cater for different price points and all day dining has increased the average spend per visit [7]. If your food menu has gotten a bit stale, why not have a look at how you can improve it?

Host Themed Nights

Is trade slow on certain days? Think of some activities or theme nights that you can start up to encourage some more trade through the door. Take a look at your local area to see what’s missing, do some research online to see what’s popular and ask customers what they’d like to attend. A bit of research, maybe a trial run, and you could fill that slow evening with a popular quiz, karaoke night or gin tasting event!

Sources

1 http://www.camra.org.uk/press-releases/-/asset_publisher/CfaqMGfKvAEU/content/camra-warns-storm-brewing-for-pubs-unless-government-acts-soon

2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43492043

3 https://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/Article/2018/03/22/Craft-beer-fatigue-is-happening

4 https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2017/07/dogs-boost-business-at-pubs/  

5 https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/drunk-woman-leaves-dog-pub-landlord-sleeps-floor-4-star-review-cold-merlot-dreadnought-leith-a8232581.html

6 https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/18/pub-saved-by-locals-serves-first-pint-after-reopening

7 http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/food-and-drink/pub-food-serves-up-growth-of-14-between-2012-and-2016

Posted 05/04/18

Author: SME Insurance

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