As we know by now, pubs, along with the rest of the dining and service industry, were among some of the businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fully closed or open in a limited format for the majority of 2020 and early 2021, the UK has seen an unfortunate but unsurprising spree of closures across the country.
However, there is hope for those that have survived and are looking to recover from a uniquely turbulent period. Heading into 2022, pub owners can take encouragement from a revitalised customer base and fully open schedule, but what are the best ways you can increase sales revenue as we head back to normality?
Up your event roster
The reopening of the world has brought with it a certain zest for activity among the British public. People want to be ‘normal’ again, and a big part of that means enjoying previously ‘normal’ things.
This has spilled into the leisure industry in a few ways, not least in the form of high demand for events. As a pub owner, what better way to get your establishment back on the local map that to offer an improved event schedule for people to attend and enjoy?
Events can come in many forms, from promotions and happy hours to gigs and comedy nights. They’re still a great way to get the punters in, and perhaps even more so right now as people look to get back to enjoying life once more.
Develop an online presence
Even for the most traditionally centred of industries like the pub business, online and social media presence is now a must. At a time when you’re looking to attract new and passing customers, having accessible online channels is one of the only ways to reliably bring people in.
Of course, many ‘local’ pubs with a defined customer base might not see the need, or have the resources, to build a decent website or create accounts across the likes of Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, but if you’re serious about bringing in new custom then your online efforts should be tailored accordingly.
Build a new atmosphere
For many pubs and restaurants with money available, the lockdown period offered an opportune time to redesign and refresh their premises, offering a new appeal upon reopening. While it might be reasonable to think you’ve missed the boat on the best time to refurbish, a design overhaul can do wonders if your pub is looking a little old and tired.
Consider it a new look for a new era for your business. Just make sure you’ve got suitable pub insurance to support your investment in the long run.
Review your customer service efforts
Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned regular or a new customer, the service and vibe you get from a pub is probably the single most important factor in whether you return or not. Developing a quality culture within your pub will be vital to your success, and that starts with your customer service efforts.
Establish what you want the standard to be in your pub, and ensure your team and product live up to it. Think about your target demographic and what they want from your business. Do you need to refresh the menu to suit seasonal or vegan diners? Do you need to go more drinks focused? Can you retrain your staff so they can effectively deliver your product, and upsell customers to spend more?
Your customer service delivery will be the foundation to creating a good reputation for your business, which, in an increasingly online world, matters more than ever. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a typical local boozer or a high-end gastropub – make sure your service matches your standard.
The coronavirus pandemic presented a huge challenge to the pub industry, but for those that have survived, there’s now plenty of opportunity to recover. With a number of different channels to help increase revenue heading into 2022, let’s hope the new year is a prosperous one for the pub and dining industry.