Many pubs have been employing creative ways to draw people in during the slowest times of day. Lot's of these ideas place emphasis on restoring the local pub back to the heart of the community. Here are a selection of ways to encourage footfall and boost customer retention during the day time hours. However you decide to proceed, remember to advertise your plans on A-boards, local press and social media!
Many pubs offer a lunchtime menu, some with varying degrees of success. Providing and advertising a food is a sure fire way of encouraging footfall, especially if it’s high quality and gets people talking, tweeting or reviewing. Offering deals and lunch time promotions is an added incentive to get people through the door.
Try and be creative with your menu; sometimes gimmicks can work when done well. How about serving a Tapas selection of locally produced food? Or pairing meals with different ales. Sharing platters and taster menus are popular choices with lunch time diners who often want a lighter option than traditional pub grub.
The modern day consumer is increasingly concerned with what's in their food. Offering fresh local produce can be a big pull, as can offering healthy alternatives. And don’t forget the kids! Do some research to see what your areas missing to offer something different from the competition.
The last 15 years has seen a huge surge in the number of coffee shops that grace our high street, despite no increase in coffee consumption. This is in direct correlation with the British pub's decline. Why is this? Coffee shops operate as a social daytime space for a mix of demographics including families, whereas in the past, pubs have been cast as typically male and evening orientated spaces. You can read more about this growing trend in The Telegraph.
To change this dated perception you’ve got to make the space more accessible to everyone, from OAPs to expectant mothers. If the space is empty, you have nothing to lose! Other groups looking for a space to meet are students and remote workers, so offering free wifi can lure these groups in. To cater to these customers, offer a wide range of hot and soft drinks as well as alcoholic beverages. Barista coffee machines are readily available to lease to businesses; this can be the difference between a £1 cup of instant or a £3 flat white.
In recent years there’s been a growing trend toward ‘grown up’ soft drinks and these have the potential to be big sellers during the day. Artisan coffees and premium soft drinks are great money makers thanks to healthy margins, so the day time trade is a great opportunity to push these.
"Soft drinks are no longer just for the 'designated driver'-We're seeing drinkers opt for soft drinks increasingly across a variety of social occasions, especially with food. Supplementing your soft drinks range with more premium adult soft drinks, including a selection of innovative flavours will ensure non-alcoholic-drinkers don't feel like their 'missing out' and will allow them to still take part in a round of drinks with friends." Russell Kirkham, Marketing Manager for Britains leading soft drinks manufacturer, Britvic.
Welcoming different groups and societies into your pub during slow periods is a great way to boost trade and has the potential to grow your clientele beyond the group itself. Using your pub as a central meeting point, establishing yourself at the heart of the community makes you indispensable. Welcoming book clubs, knitting circles, history groups, local sports teams all have the potential to drive revenue beyond the time they are occupying the space.
Holding themed events to appeal to these different groups encourages repeat custom. Location is a key component when considering what events to hold. If you’re in an area with a high population of OAPs consider holding a bingo night. If you’re in a trendy student area consider a pop culture pub quiz. Darts, cards, dominoes, pool tournaments; all activities which require and encourage group participation.
A businesses best advertising is a positive customer referral, so welcoming members of the community into your pub is an excellent way to spread the word.