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The Summer pub rush is over, but the World Cup will be kicking off soon sending football fans flocking to large screen TVs. According to Barclaycard the last World Cup in 2018 boosted spending by 5.1% overall, and a whopping 9.5% for pubs. In a time where a lot of hospitality businesses are struggling, this will be a welcome economic boost for pubs. Here’s how to make the most of the football fever and get your pub ready for the World Cup.

How many people are expected to watch the World Cup matches?

In the UK, around a third of the population is expected to tune into World Cup matches. Most of this viewership will be for England games. The better England performs, the more businesses in the UK can benefit. The World Cup will be on between 21st November – 18th December, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to start making your gameplan.

What’s the impact of the cost of living crisis?

You might be apprehensive about whether customers will be willing to go out and spend their money in pubs due to the current cost of living crisis. At the moment it’a a bit uncertain how much football fan’s spending habits will be affected, so it’s a good change for publicans to offer some attractive deals and discounts to get people in the door.

As the World Cup is a major global event that only happens every 4 years, it’s highly likely the football fans will still show up in force to support their nation. You just need to show them why they should choose your pub over your competitors.

How can I prepare my pub for the World Cup?

Make the most out of your pub seating

Football fans will be eager to find a pub or bar that offers a good view of the game, so you need to make the most of space in your pub. Use furniture that can easily be moved, so groups can move things as needed depending on their size.

As the World Cup will be in the Winter this year, it will be a different atmosphere in the pub to usual. Usually in the Summer people are happy to be outdoors for extended periods, but this World Cup it will be cold, windy and wet outside. You could still potentially make the use of outdoor seating, but you’ll need to think about how to protect your customers from the elements.

If you are going to use outdoor seating, you’ll need to keep people warm and dry. If your space is open, you will probably want to put up a marquee or another form of temporary shelter, or at least provide large free-standing umbrellas to shelter everyone. Outdoor heaters are also a good idea, or if this is too big of an investment, offer blankets.

In your advertising for your screenings make it clear what people can expect from your seating, and as long as people know in advance they can prepare accordingly.

Create the right atmosphere

Build engagement in your pub by putting up some decorations such as bunting and flags, and think about running extra events such as quiz nights to get more people in the door when matches aren’t on.

Keep a positive and orderly atmosphere by helping people get to tables as quickly as possible. You might want to dedicate a member of staff to controlling the crowd flow. Remember to make your customers feel welcome!

Overall, you’ll want to keep customers in their seats as much as you can to keep order in the pub. The best way to do this is to serve people as quickly as possible, and keep people entertained while they wait. The World Cup is an opportunity to get creative with your menu and activities, so think about a special match day menu to help provide extra sales and add value. You could even match your food to the teams playing that day – think German bratwurst and Mexican tacos.

Optimise your service

When England games are on, it will be all hands on deck. Bring in all the staff you can, and use technology so they can serve customers as quickly as possible.

Order at table

Keep people in their seats and eradicate queues at the bar by implementing an order at table app. Customers will be able to scan a QR code at their table, place their order and pay on their phones. The order will be instantly sent through to your bar printer. Guests will be happier as they won’t need to stand in a queue, and can order as many drinks as they want, as soon as they want them. It also means there won’t be any disruptions to the game and customers can stay fully engaged the whole time.

Extra till terminals

If you want to stick to bar service then it’s a good idea to add an extra till terminal or two to your pub EPOS system, depending on how big your space is. This means your bartenders won’t be waiting to put in the order, helping guests to get served as quickly as possible.

Mobile EPOS

Another way of providing table service is to give bar staff a mobile EPOS device. This means they can walk around the pub and take orders, with details instantly sent to the bar printer.

Attract the crowds

If you’re going to be showing the World Cup matches, you need to let people know! Social media is the easiest way to spread the message. Remind people in the days leading up to each match that you’ll be showing it. If you’re offering large screens, food and drink packages and guaranteed seating, make sure people know about it.

You could also implement a digital booking system so people can reserve their seats. This data can also be used as a customer database that you can then email for future events. Some pubs will be choosing to do a ticket only event, that guarantees a view of the screen. This can help persuade guests to choose your pub. You could even bundle the seat together with a food and drink package for added value.