by Paula on December 3, 2010

As a lover of the good old fashioned pub with it’s roaring fire, barrels of ale & cider, and people shoe-horned in sharing a story and a laugh at the end of the day, it’s always sad to read of pubs closing.

Read York Press article here.

My husband and I drove through an area of Bristol at the weekend where he spent his younger years and he was pointing out former pubs that had turned into banks, flats or Tesco Express stores.

Clearly this wouldn’t be happening if the pub was a great success and drawing in the crowds, but it’s inevitable if people are choosing to spend their time elsewhere that there has to be a victim in the end. So what’s the difference between those pubs who are still thriving and those who are struggling to make ends meet? Here are some of my thoughts:

1. An engaging Landlord / Landlady. We like to know who is in charge and what they stand for. We like to see their passion for their pub and to feel that they have time for us, know what we drink and are genuinely pleased to see us. Be accessible, friendly, engaging and welcoming.

2. Great staff. It makes such a difference who you are served by. Within a mile of our house there are 2 pubs that both do good food and are appealing inside. One has staff who are always happy to help, will recommend a drink, will give you a smile and a warm welcome. The other has staff who chat to each other while you wait to be served, look at you when they are taking their order as if you are a nuisance. I am sure I don’t need to tell you where we choose to go. Show people that you care, that you hear what they want and that you will go that extra mile for them.

3. A good blend of familiarity and new. Some people don’t like too much change and want to see their favourite pint always available, but others like to try new things and will appreciate the turnover of a new brew to try, and the feel good factor of it coming from a local brewery. Fresh offerings and promotions, blended with consistency and security.

4. Social Media. Pubs that are embracing Social Media and recognising it’s benefits are securing the social audience. Pubs that are ignoring it, do so at their peril. While you are preparing the bar for the evening’s opening hours, your competitors are on Facebook chatting with local people, posting exciting posts about what can be expected in their pub tonight and encouraging those people online to make plans with their contacts to come to their pub! Don’t miss out, you need to be where your audience is, and a large part of that audience are making their evening plans online.

So open your minds to the new, stack up those barrels, polish those beer taps, then get on line and pull those punters in!


Tony December 3, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Pubs are a mainstay of English culture. From the mead halls of Beowulf to The Rovers Return it has always been a bit of warmth and a pint that has brought people together on dank evenings and where they make up their minds as to what they think of the goings on both locally and in the great world. Its the traditional place for a community to find its voice.

If we all drink our supermarket cans in front of the telly where big bland business tells us what we want then you can end up assuming that it’s what everybody else must want even though your own heart sinks. Go down to the pub and you may find that there’s a bit more to the picture!

Pubs need atmosphere and character and thrive on lots of mini-events. Social media is the 21st century’s technology for small scale organisation and identity creation. It would seem like a perfect fit!

Paula December 4, 2010 at 11:45 am

Tony, Thank you for your comments. I agree there’s nothing better than getting out and sharing a tale and a pint when it’s cold outside, and quiet at home. I love that togetherness and community but there are so many other options pulling people away that Landlords need to get online and remind people why they’re the place to be! Look forward to discussing it further one day over a pint in a pub 😉

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