Between bank holidays, warm weather and the royal wedding, it’s been a great fortnight for many in the trade, but it remains to be seen if we are on the road to recovery
WHAT a difference a few rays make. As the country enjoyed the recent spate of bank holidays and four-day weeks, the sun came out and gave people the perfect excuse to head back to their local beer garden.
Pubs in towns, cities and villages have enjoyed a surge in footfall over the past fortnight, with some key football matches and, lest we forget, the royal wedding also encouraging consumers to rediscover the wonder of the pub.
The sight of packed beer gardens and outdoor areas was a wonderful contrast to a few short months ago, when the severe weather wrecked the Christmas trading plans of pubs all over the country. Back then the main priority seemed to be survival – now there’s talk of revival in the air.
I’m no royalist, but I believe the wedding of Will and Kate has been crucial to the return of the feel-good factor.
With drinks brands and operators getting into the spirit of the event before the big day, it provided the perfect excuse to cast worries aside and enjoy a party.
It almost didn’t matter what the occasion was – after years of economic turmoil and concern about money and jobs, people around the country seized the chance to bring some light back into their lives.
Of course, a royal wedding alone won’t solve the country’s problems. But, in tandem with some great weather and a few days off work, it might just prove to be the catalyst for recovery in the licensed trade.
There was certainly an air of optimism at the BII’s annual award dinner, held at the wonderfully restored Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow, last Sunday. The event, which was well-attended and supported by corporate sponsors, was an opportunity to highlight some of Scotland’s best trade people, venues and business development programmes, with six awards handed out on the night. After several conversations with people in the room, I left with the feeling that, while the road ahead will undoubtedly be rocky, there is genuine hope that brighter times are coming.
I accept a few anecdotal comments from operators and suppliers hardly constitute a full recovery, but it was encouraging, at the very least, to hear people talk in those terms. All operators can do in the meantime is offer the great hospitality they’re renowned for – and hope the sun continues to shine.