THE start of the year is typically considered to be a quieter time of year for the trade. Yet for publicans who keep their eye on the ball, and capitalise on the right events, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Beer firms have advised that, with rugby’s 6 Nations tournament kicking off in February, pubs that are prepared should be able to cash in.
Andrew Turner of Heineken reckons plenty of people will make their way to their local as “the busy pub atmosphere is the next best thing to being at the game”.
He added that rugby fans “tend to have more disposable income” and so publicans who get their offer right can “reap the benefits”, noting that Heineken’s leased pub business, Star Pubs & Bars, experienced an average 20% to 30% uplift in sales during last year’s Rugby World Cup.
Taking a similar stance Wendy Espie, senior brand manager for Caledonia Best at Tennent’s, commented that the 6 Nations “draws huge TV audiences” which “extends beyond the die hard rugby fan”; this therefore presents “an excellent opportunity [for pubs] to ensure repeat custom throughout the day”.
She added that positive sentiment from an “impressive autumn test series” is set to remain around the Scotland team, which publicans can capitalise on to further drive footfall.
Getting the word out to local rugby fans that an outlet will be screening the fixtures is essential, said Espie.
The busy pub atmosphere is the next best thing to being at the game.
“Visibility and brand awareness is vital when it comes to attracting existing and new fans into your outlet to watch the games,” she said.
“Some brands, especially those with a strong association to the game, will provide outlets with engaging rugby activity around the time of big events like the 6 Nations.”
Turner, of Heineken, also believes that promotion plays a big part in an outlet’s success during any sporting event, advising publicans to “promote deals and special events well in advance”.
Once fans have been attracted into the pub, Espie advised licensees to ensure they cover the basics, such as maintaining healthy levels of stock of best-selling drinks.
This was echoed by Michelle Chadwick of Halewood Wines & Spirits, who emphasised the importance of having good quality beers on tap.
She said: “The key is ensuring plenty of staff, enough clean and cold glassware and all the basics for making a good drink.”
And Espie emphasised that, above all, customers look to pubs for an atmosphere and experience they can’t get at home.
“Consumers are looking for the ultimate viewing experience when watching the games,” she said.
“If outlets can ensure quality and timely served drinks, big screens and additional extras like food and entertainment, landlords will attract good numbers into the bar.”