Winter has officially set in and the holiday season is upon us. With only 2 weeks to go until Christmas people are spending their money on presents and decorations rather than visiting their local pub for a meal or a drink.
September and October saw pubs across the country enjoy a large increase in sales due to the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Pubs operated by both Fuller’s and Young enjoyed an increase in sales of over 9% during the period.
Now that the World Cup is over pubs need new ways to attract customers and maintain profits over the winter season. These five tips can help your pub reduce costs as well as gain new regulars.
Develop a winter menu which includes promotions and meal deals such as 2 meals for a reduced price or buy a main and get a dessert free. Focus these promotions on hot dishes and comfort foods, such as pies and pasta, for people escaping the cold weather. Offering two-for-one meals, one night a week, is an added option to bring in customers who love a bargain. In addition to promotions dedicate a section of the menu specifically to ‘winter comforts’ so guests can easily locate hot dishes on the menu.
Take advantage of the holiday season by hosting a New Year’s Eve party or Christmas themed events which are bound to attract new customers.
Hold a Christmas Carol Karaoke night with festive cocktail specials or make wrapping presents a social occasion by hosting a present wrapping day. Provide a variety of wrapping paper, ribbons and sticky tape so those who hate wrapping gifts can have a beer or burger while they get gifts ready for under the tree. Make sure you market any events you host by spreading the word through social media and by advertising within the venue with posters and flyers.
Avoid hiring new staff members and first determine whether current staff numbers can cope over the holiday period. Circulate rosters to employees with plenty of notice so changes are not made last minute and you are not left short staffed at any point.
If business starts to slow create a new roster which takes into account quiet periods, this prevents having too many staff members working on a Monday afternoon when there are few customers to serve.
Make your pub an oasis for customers to come in and escape the cold. Invest in outdoor heaters so guests can still enjoy the beer garden or alfresco dining areas. Or if on a budget provide blankets for outdoor use when the weather is nice but there is a chill in the air.
Use tarpaulins or plastic sheets to protect tables and chairs from the harsh winter weather. Shielding furniture from the rain, especially wooden pieces, ensures they last longer and you won’t need to replace them in the summer. Diners have the choice to sit outside when furniture is kept clean and dry and smokers will be inclined to stay longer when they can sit outside and smoke. Dry furniture will also attract passer-by’s, such as those walking the dog, to stop and enjoy a quick beer.