How to attract loyal pub customers
There’s a great deal of negativity surrounding the pub industry in the press at the moment, so much so that you could be forgiven for thinking that the beautiful British pub is heading towards extinction. The reality is that in most cases, the negativity is unfounded and the result of sensationalist headlines.
There are pubs that are unsustainable, and it’s these pubs that are closing at a rate of knots, but survival of the fittest is common to any operation, in any industry. This doesn’t mean that the industry is suffering. In fact, whilst there has been a reduction in the number of sites, total revenue in the industry hasn’t been impacted. Perhaps in part due to those remaining ‘soaking up custom’* from the closed locations.
However, for the pubs that are surviving or even booming, success isn’t guaranteed – change is afoot. Whether your operation is a single site/national chain, tenanted/managed/independent, wet or food led… The need to differentiate in the market remains clear. Those that will thrive should have one word at the forefront of their minds.
How can I attract a loyal customer base to my pub?
There are 5 elements to bear in mind in order to attract a customer base that will return time and time again:
- PREMIUM + VARIETY – From beer to rum, and everything in-between, consumers now expect choice.
- PERSONAL + RELIABLE – The great British pub is famed for it’s laid back, welcoming atmosphere and that’s something most customers still value.
- OFFERS + PROMOTIONS – a night at with friends at the pub is more tempting with a reasonable price tag, but that doesn’t mean you need to operate at a loss.
- MORE THAN A PIE – Two pints of lager and a packet of crisps, is firmly imprinted on British pub culture. However, consumers are also ready for something more, to have an all-round food and drink experience.
- CUSTOMER, CUSTOMER, CUSTOMER – how can you make sure your customers are happy? Are your food and drink choices available online? Are you allergen compliant? Can customers pre-order using an app? Make sure you’re in touch with what your customers want.
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* Economies of Ale, Office for National Statistics, https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/business/activitysizeandlocation/articles/economiesofalesmallpubscloseaschainsfocusonbigbars/2018-11-26
** The British Pub Market, CGA https://www.cga.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/CGA_00146-Pub-Report-12page.pdf
*** Pub19, Fever Tree survey.