British pubs are at the heart of their communities, and a major industry in the country. Pubs and bars contribute £22 billion a year to the UK GDP and £13 billion in tax revenue. They are also a major supplier of jobs, bringing income to rural locations.
The last few years haven’t been easy on the hospitality industry, and pubs are no exception. The Campaign for Real Ale estimates there were over 500 closures in 2021, and 300 pubs were converted or demolished. A combination of the pandemic, cost of living and above-average taxation of beer compared to other European countries has meant pubs need to work hard to stay competitive to keep customers coming in.
So how can you turn your quiet pub into a lively one? Here are our top tips for how to run a successful pub.
How to run a successful pub
Create local partnerships
Working in partnership with other businesses in your neighbourhood can bring you a lot of publicity, attracting customers that might not normally visit your business. Organise events together such as hosting street food vendors, pub crawls between local pubs or bundle discounts.
Host ‘work from the pub’ days
Working from home has become a lot more common, and a lot of people like working somewhere different for a change of scenery. During the day, give people a place where they can work for a few hours, and keep them there by offering coffee, lunch and free wifi.
Make sure you have a good barista coffee machine so you can compete with local coffee shops that workers would traditionally go to. If you have sectioned-off rooms, you could think about renting these out as meeting rooms, coworking spaces or for networking events.
Put on community events
Hosting some events is a great way to encourage new people to visit your pub. Pub quizzes are popular for a reason, and are a good way to get some new regular customers. Take advantage of any events happening in the local community as well, such as festivals, fun runs or food events and see how your pub can help out.
Keep employees and guests happy
Customer experience at your bar is key, and there’s no better way to provide a good one than keeping your own staff happy. When hiring and training your employees, make sure they are friendly and have a good attitude that will appear to your guests.
Plan your inventory effectively
Although sorting out your stock can be boring, getting the right products in will be crucial to happy customers. Use a stock control tool and EPOS back office so you can evaluate your sales, look for trends, and understand what needs to be restocked when.
Offer something for everyone
Dietary restrictions are only becoming more and more common, so make sure you’re not cutting out a big chunk of the market. Whether it’s gluten free, vegan, or dairy free, make sure you have food and drink on the menu that will suit different restrictions.
Keep up with trends
Customer habits are always changing, so you need to keep on top of food and drink trends. For example, if you don’t already offer a dining menu, you’ll probably want to consider it – gastro pubs are excellent at attracting people who might have chosen a restaurant instead.
Offer regular promotions
Drinks promotions are a key way to get people in the door, but you might want to think about offering a meal day to get customers to stay longer – and spend more.
Invest in technology
Pub technology has become very affordable, so it’s easy to kit your staff out with mobile EPOS systems or set up an order at table app. These can help to increase your turnover as well as improving the efficiency of your business.
Change up your menu depending on the time of year to keep your customers engaged. Offer a limited Summer cocktail menu or serve mulled wine at Christmas. Combine this with your food offering to put on special themed nights for Valentine’s day, New Year’s Eve etc.
Running a pub can be tough, but we’re here to help. Gardiff EPOS has everything you need to efficiently run and grow your hospitality business, from tills to online ordering. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.