Dust off the deckchairs and bring out the bread buns - it's nearly National BBQ Week! And a brilliant time for butchers across Britain.
This annual event has been running for a quarter of a century this year, making it one of the UK's best-known and longest-running awareness weeks in existence. It's a relatively new celebration though when you consider how long BBQs themselves have been around. The word barbecue comes from the language of a Caribbean Indian tribe called the Taino – whose word for grilling on a raised wooden grate1 is barbacoa. According to Planet Barbecue, the word first appeared in print in a Spanish explorer's account of the West Indies way back in 1526. Some of the first English settlers in the US adapted the word into "barbecue". It took a little longer to become popular in the UK. However, the BBQ industry here is now estimated to be worth around £2bn. It had a huge boost last year when the nation was locked down for the first time in one of the warmest springs in decades.2
It is hoped that this summer will be another warm one, and with record sales3 of garden furniture over three lockdowns, the nation is certainly geared up for some al fresco grilling.
This is an excellent opportunity for British Butchers. The traditional BBQ menu has moved on a bit from plain burgers, and consumers are looking for even more inspiration, with chicken skewers and chicken wings proving just as popular4 as the more traditional fare.
National BBQ Week 2021 includes a whole host of activities to get people grilling – from roadshows to radio promotions, media coverage to competitions. It provides a genuine talking point across the mainstream media and will be a fantastic opportunity for British Butchers to drive footfall into their stores.
National BBQ Week 2021 Sponsorship
Depending on your budgets, there are sponsorship opportunities with the organisers of National BBQ Week, which could see you as a spokesperson for the industry or have your brand name on marketing materials or across social media. Find out more here.5
However, if this is a bit beyond your means, there are lots of other ways you can harness the event to your advantage.
Make a splash in your window and across your countertops with posters and flyers promoting the week. Ensure these are placed in full view of the customers in and outside of your store, well in advance.
Promote the fact that you have extra stock ordered – shout about it on social media, tell your customers, put a note in your window. Perhaps you sold out of burgers last year? Or maybe you've already had requests from customers in advance of the week? Tell people about it! This will encourage visitors into your store.
Why not create a bespoke National BBQ Week competition? Create some fantastic hampers and suggest that everyone who makes a purchase goes into a draw for one. Again, promote this on social media and with point-of-sale materials. You could tie in with other local retailers such as a garden store or a baker, to include chairs, bread rolls etc.
Most towns still have one local title. It is possible to run competitions or awareness through them in the form of an advertorial, which is relatively low-cost. Perhaps you could promote all the special foods pre-ordered for National BBQ Week with some great images and stats about the event itself, taken from the site.
Create menus/host BBQ sessions
Consumers are always looking for new ideas, so providing them with some bespoke branded BBQ ideas online, or in store, can inspire them and hopefully increase their loyalty even further. Host some sessions showing people how to prepare the meat for the best results, or film yourself doing this and share on social media. It is the kind of content that will get shared and further establish your position as an expert in the field.
Three out of four UK households now own an outdoor grill.5 With the predicted better weather, this figure could even increase – so there is a great opportunity for butchers to get on board and drive sales. The week has been moved back to allow for all restrictions to be eased, meaning the opportunities are all there.
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