It’s been exciting to be involved in two excellent industry events in recent weeks which champion all that is great about the pub industry – PUB18 and The Publican Awards 2018, writes guest blogger Jo Bruce.
Visitor numbers for the PUB18 show in London were up 20% on last year, further evidence that the pub sector is in rude health and has a real vibrancy at present.
Some of the most influential names in the industry were among those sharing business insights at the annual show, including the empire-expanding (but waistline-decreasing) Tom Kerridge.
One of the key messages from Kerridge was that it’s important to regularly take a step back from your business and look at it from a customer perspective.
Entering awards is a fantastic way of doing this, giving you the focus to look at what you have achieved in the past year and also helping to identify areas where your business may need to improve in the future.
It has been an honour to be involved again this year in the judging of the prestigious Publican Awards, which celebrate the achievements of pub companies large and small.
Here are 6 things it was exciting to see as a judge, which are happening in successful finalist companies:
- ‘Every day is a school day’ for great pub company leaders. The best look to develop their own skills and minds so they can advance their businesses and people. They also aren’t above getting behind the bar and pulling a pint when needed or accepting when they have made a mistake and learning from it.
- Developing team members is given as equal a focus as growing sales and profits. Pub companies are now up among the best companies to work for in the UK. The training opportunities and reward and recognition programmes for employees in leading companies is excellent. In these challenging trading times they recognise it is important to put your arms around your teams and to help ensure you continue to get the best from them.
- In our experiential society customers are increasingly looking for different experiences. Successful operators continue to raise their game with the range of different activities on offer to excite and engage customers. From flambé kitchen nights, gin and music festivals, bake off competitions, MasterChef cook-offs to pizza and prosecco nights, events are key in helping drive success.
- Discounting isn’t the only option to help drive sales. Companies are enjoying success by offering premium options for customers to treat themselves, but putting customers in control of how much, such as selling items such as langoustines by the three or five.
- Vegan options are being embraced on menus. Separate menus are being offered or dishes are being created as vegan-friendly which can then be simply made non-vegan by adding eggs or chicken etc rather than positioning as specific vegan dishes.
- Working like they don’t need the money! Successful operators are doing it with belief, passion and energy and above all having lots of fun. They care about the detail; they have the courage to make mistakes and empower their teams to do the same; they don’t stand still. The money follows.
Jo Bruce, is a business journalist and PR consultant. She was previously managing editor of pub trade title The Morning Advertiser.