Ringing the changes

PUB companies have adapted their offer to help lessees cope with the impact of the new Scottish drink drive limit, it’s claimed.

The fallout from the lowering of the drink drive limit has been well publicised, with bars around Scotland reporting a drop in trade.

Mark Hannah, Manorview
Mark Hannah, business development manager at Manorview Pub Partnerships.

But pub companies say they are attempting to offset the effects on trade by helping lessees introduce other revenue streams.

The new limit has “predominantly had a negative impact on midweek and Sunday revenues”, said Mark Hannah, business development manager at Manorview Pub Partnerships.

“We have been working with our lessees to encourage other revenue streams, whether this is a small food or coffee offering, implementing small kitchen facilities or simply working harder at the weekends with entertainment or any other points of difference from their competition to make up any lost revenue,” he said.

Hannah said being part of a pub company, whether leasing a unit or working in a managed outlet, can be a real benefit during tougher times.

“We think it can make a huge difference as collectively with our partners we can all work together to ensure that their business develops and evolves to embrace these changes,” he said.

“We are currently trialling a 0% lager on draught at one of our managed units with an encouraging start.”

Greene King-owned Belhaven said some of its pubs have experienced changes in consumer habits since the drink drive limit was lowered, while others have seen no evidence of change.

The company recently conducted consumer research and has used the findings to help advise lessees on how to improve their offer.

A spokeswoman said: “This included starter packs, point of sale and deals on low and no-alcohol products to help our lessees to widen their range.

“We are continually reviewing this to identify other areas where we feel we can add further value to our lessees.”

A spokeswoman for Belhaven said: “We are in a relatively unique position in Scotland as a brewer, wholesaler and operator of a managed pubs business and this gives us a broad perspective around developments in the marketplace.

“We have always supported our lessees on the big legislative issues, from the smoking ban to the introduction of the new Licensing Act and now these new laws.”