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      • How to boost your pub’s takings and offer a real alternative to coffee shops

      • Back in September last year, we gave you tips on the best coffee machines for pubs. There was good reason to; as we said at the time, British pub espresso machines were seeing 18% more demand. Yet we think a lot of pub managers are underestimating the opportunity that comes with leasing an espresso machine. For pubs, times are tougher than they’ve ever been. Craft ale might have prompted a revival, but the truth is that bar the blow-outs on a Friday and Saturday night, punters are drinking less alcohol. At the same time, coffee shops are on the rise and daytime pub trade is dwindling. Revenue is falling at a lot of pubs. Boosting pubs’ takings seems pie-in-the-sky.

        Success comes down to quality coffee, reliable coffee machines and setting a high standard

        Selling coffee successfully in a pub environment is only going to be possible if you take the option seriously. That means well-trained staff, a visually appealing premium espresso machine, and high-quality coffee. It means taking pride in your product. Of course, what coffee shops have which pubs often lack is a bright, light-filled interior. But with more pubs introducing comfortable seating like armchairs and sofas, and the huge advantage that many have attractive gardens and plenty of outside seating, there are clearly ways of pitching any pub as a daytime coffee bar.

        It’s tougher in towns, of course, but if you’re the licensee of a village pub, leasing a coffee machine is a no-brainer. You can find out all about the benefits of leasing a coffee machine for your business here, but for the moment the important point is that you’re not throwing thousands at the idea and losing valuable working capital. What matters is that in a village, you have very, very little coffee competition. Perhaps a traditional tearoom or farm shop serving coffee in the summer. But in the winter? When people want to get out for a spot of exercise and fresh air, and not lock themselves back up at home too soon?

        The pub is the obvious venue, the centre of the community, the hub of village of life.

        And all too often, the provider of utterly disappointing coffee. But the British public – your customers, if you’re reading this as a pub owner or manager – spends a whopping £6.2 billion a year on coffee away from home, according to Kantar Worldpanel. 70% of British adults head for a coffee when they’re out and about 82 times a year, on average. More than one and a half times a week.

        That frequency comes from a broad mix of people, of course. So, what does that mean for you, offering coffee in a village pub or small-town pub with few coffee shops for competition? A huge opportunity. Because lots of those coffees will have been bought as part of a shopping expedition, by people who don’t have an out-of-home option for seriously tasty coffee nearby. In a village or small town, your pub is nearby to pretty much everyone who fancies a coffee.

        That means your pub is within nipping distance for stay-at-home parents, freelancers and the retired during the working week, and absolutely everyone at the weekend. Get the coffee right, get your marketing right, and you could see your takings head in the right direction too.