Plan for the unexpected

Make sure you are ready for those rare sunny days

Operators should ensure they are ready for the occasional sunny days when they come

IF you don’t like Scottish weather, so the saying goes, then wait thirty minutes and it’s likely to change.

The famously unpredictable nature of the Scottish climate means a warm and sunny summer is never a certainty. It makes sense, then, that Scottish punters are always ready to make the most of it any time the sun does manage to find its way into the country.

And operators, said drinks companies, should make sure they’re ready to take advantage of any sunshine on short notice too.

“Weather is one of the biggest influences on consumer behaviour; it affects consumers’ emotional state, drives their purchase decisions and dictates how much they are willing to spend,” said Jessica Smith, marketing assistant at Continental Wine & Food (CWF).

“Therefore, understanding this relationship can pay huge dividends for pubs, bars and restaurants if products are marketed in the most impactful way.”

Claire Arnott at Tennent’s agreed.

She said any good weather is likely to provide “a great opportunity for licensees to capitalise on consumers’ good mood and drive sales through the tills”.

And she advised operators to “streamline” their drinks offer on sunny days in order to make things easier for staff.

“If you have an outdoor area, it might be worth considering a range of drinks that can be easily served outside, such as pitchers of beer or cocktails, ice buckets of packaged products or chilled bottles of wine,” said Arnott.

Promoting summer serves is particularly important on warmer days, said companies, as customers’ drinks preferences can change when the sun’s shining.

Carlo Valente of VC2 Brands, parent company of Boë Gin, said: “Consumers tend to stick to their favourite drinks but do get more adventurous in the summer, perhaps brought on with hot sunny days (and) needing something to quench the thirst.”

Social media has become the go-to tool for communicating directly with consumers and Arnott at Tennent’s said posting drinks menus, as well as details of things such as garden facilities and entertainment, “is a great way to spread the word and get consumers talking”. 

“They’ll often be planning ahead for key summer dates like bank holidays and sporting events, so it is important for consumers to have sight on what’s on offer ahead of time,” said Arnott.

“Use wording and images that will encourage shareability and make consumers want to tag their friends.”

Photogenic summer serves are said to be essential.

Valente at VC2 said: “Offer cocktails and serves that look great and taste amazing – use recipes, descriptors and photography on social media.

“Some of these can be found on brand websites like ours; at Boë Gin we have an extensive selection of cocktails and serves with recipes and photography.”

Once customers are in an outlet it’s vital that whatever drink they order is perfectly served and presented. 

“Expectations have changed dramatically,” said Valente.

“Consumers are expecting the serve in a good quality glass, branded if necessary, with a garnish and care taken with presentation.”

This was reinforced by Andrew Turner at Halewood Wines & Spirits, who said customers are unlikely to return to a venue if they feel they haven’t been well looked after.

“When consumers head out to bars and restaurants, there’s a sense of occasion,” said Turner.

“Regardless of whether the visit was planned or not, customers only go back to venues where they’ve had a positive experience.

“That’s why the quality of the serve and the range of options available need to be communicated at every opportunity and further demonstrated by the level of service, in order to keep customers coming back.”

Sunshine flavours

Bacio del Limone

125ml chilled sparkling wine
35ml Limoncello Beltion
Crushed ice
Five or six berries of any kind to garnish
Serve in a tall flute.

– CWF.

Iceberg Slim

50ml Luxardo Bitter Bianco
Tonic water
Lemon essential oils
Fresh dill to garnish

Pour the Luxardo Bitter Bianco over the ice. Top up with tonic water. Add a spray of lemon essential oils and garnish with the fresh dill.

– Luxardo.

Pamplemousse Spritz

35ml Boë Violet Gin
15ml Aperol
75ml pink grapefruit juice
Splash of soda water (or Ting)

Build in a Copa wine glass and garnish with a grapefruit wedge or basil leaf.

– VC2 Brands.

Riviera Spritz

30ml Martini Ambratto
10ml St Germain
30ml Tepache (fermented pineapple juice)
Martini Prosecco

Add Martini Ambratto, St Germain and Tepache to a wine glass, add ice and stir. Top with fresh ice and Prosecco. Garnish with pineapple and mint.