Like it or not, pubs are much more sophisticated places than they used to be. But a recent visit to the Lamb Tavern at Leadenhall Market in London got me thinking as to what it takes to combine the atmosphere of a good old-fashioned community pub (dare I say boozer!?!), with the more sedate buzz of an establishment with a high-quality food menu and overall better “experience” than we were typically used to in the 80’s and 90’s. What we now tend to refer to as the Gastropub.
Meeting up with a load of old mates that I shared various living spaces with in the 90’s did not require a particularly sophisticated venue for us all to have a great time and sink a few beers. I will admit that the location of the pub in a beautiful old historic part of the City of London added a certain something, but so did a well-kept clean and tidy bar, highly efficient bar-staff, clean toilets and the presence of all genders clearly enjoying the relaxed atmosphere and combination of good quality ales and food on a Friday night.
Result = smiling faces and a great atmosphere.
But it wasn’t, in my opinion, a Gastropub. It was much more akin to the kind of place that my now dearly departed Dad would have taken us for a pint or two on a Sunday afternoon when my big Sisters and their boyfriends were visiting. Dare I say a boozer!?!. Yet with a friendly feel, meaning no stares when you walk through the door and a complete absence of loudly projected Bernard Manning jokes.
Not that I am against the current fashion for pubs that have a decent, well-thought through food offering. No I am way too much of a foodie for that. But I do object to being immediately asked where I am going to sit when I walk through a pub door on a Sunday afternoon, only to have someone look down their nose at me when I tell them that I am only there to meet friends and have a pint before a firework display on a Sunday evening. Then to be smartly ushered over to a “snug” in the corner, to keep me out of view of other potential diners, I suspect.
Maybe I’m old-fashioned but I still feel that it is important that a pub respects its traditions as a meeting place for locals and visitors alike, for the purposes of nothing other than a pint or a glass of wine or two, and maybe nothing more nourishing than that and a packet of peanuts. If that is the wont of the customer.
Achieving that will keep rural communities alive and connected, without them needing to rely on Broadband or a 4G connection. I still feel that there is no better barometer of the health of a local community than seeing a lively bar or pub in a town or village, especially about 5 o’clock on a Friday evening. With a bar area that is as suited to pre-meal drinks as it is to a few locals chewing the cud, just for the sake of it!
My business aims to help publicans achieve exactly this. In order to spend the kind of time that you need to attract as many of the community as humanly possible, the nuts and bolts of the business and cash-flow really needs to run itself. We do this by offering publicans and managers the financial tools and systems to keep the money flowing in while the owner knows exactly where they are with cash, supply and stock from multiple suppliers. We can also help to simplify VAT returns through integrations with accounting packages, and keep loyal customers returning by implementing and managing reward programs.
So if you are thinking of refurbishing your pub, bar or restaurant, or are maybe even considering venturing down the hospitality path for the first time, we have a team of people at our disposal who can help you achieve your goals. So do get in touch, and I’ll see you in the pub for a pint!