An annual calendar

With the hectic festive period now behind us, it could be the ideal time to get your ducks lined up to help make sure you have a successful and profitable 2024. January is traditionally a period of relative calm after the Christmas and New Year storm, but that doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to a slow start to the year.

There are plenty of ways to encourage footfall and spend in January, as you will discover below, and it makes sense to make the best possible use of any quieter moments you have over the next few weeks to put together a full plan for the year that lies ahead.

To help you do just that, we have collated some consumer research findings to help offer a few pointers and tips on making 2024 another year to remember.

 

KEY POINT 1

THINK CREATIVELY FOR WAYS TO GET PEOPLE OUT TO THE PUB IN JANUARY

The post-Christmas period can be a time for tightening belts and cutting down after a period of excess but there are other things going on that can help to drive customers into venues.

Our January research last year (200 pubgoers) revealed that 13% of people claimed they were

participating in Dry January. A further 7% said they don’t drink alcohol at all. That represents a big opportunity to drive footfall and sales by stocking a range of low- and no-alcohol products – and you’ll find many options featured in this issue of Value for Venues.

Veganuary has taken off in recent years. In January 2023, 12% of our pubgoers said they were participating in Veganuary, either not eating meat or reducing the amount of meat they eat. Again, this presents a great opportunity to attract new customers with a menu that offers them some great vegetarian and vegan options.

A small but significant 8% claimed they usually go for a meal and drinks for Burns Night across the UK, a clear chance to drive sales with themed promotions, events, drinks and menus.

 

SO WHAT?

Make sure you’re catering to those who are cutting back – on alcohol or meat – and those who are simply trying to eat more healthily in January.

This is an opportunity to showcase a great range of soft drinks and mocktails, vegan or vegetarian dishes, and make a profit-boosting occasion of Burns Night.

 

KEY POINT 2

KEY CONSIDERATIONS FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

In our 2023 seasonal research, 22% of pubgoers said they went for a meal for Valentine’s Day and 4% went for a drink. That’s more than a quarter of all consumers venturing out to celebrate the global festival of love. It makes sense to cater to that huge audience with themed drinks, menus and events to tap into that spend.

It’s also worth noting that many choose to celebrate at home: 66% said because it’s cheaper and 27% because it’s more private. Could you unlock some of that spend by doing promotions or offering private spaces in your venue for a premium?

 

SO WHAT?

Is there anything you can do to offer great value for money and a more intimate, private atmosphere for Valentine’s celebrations?

Alternatively, and depending on your guest demographic, you could look to appeal to those who don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day through alternative events. Blissfully Single evenings, anyone? Or Speed Dating dinners?

 

KEY POINT 3

KEY CONSIDERATIONS FOR MOTHER’S DAY & FATHER’S DAY

It will surprise no-one to learn that Mother’s Day is more popular than Father’s Day for going out to a pub or restaurant. In 2023, 29% of our pubgoers claimed to visit a pub for Mother’s Day compared to 17% for Father’s Day. That’s worth bearing in mind when planning on how to unlock growth from those occasions.

That being said, consumers are actually looking for similar things across both occasions – so one model or plan may, with some minor tweaks, work for both occasions.

Great value (39%) and great service (35%) are the key drivers of pub choice for Mother’s Day – customers want to visit somewhere that will guarantee them a good experience for such a special occasion.

 

SO WHAT?

Don’t forget the dads! Father’s Day is a great opportunity to encourage more participation and drive more people to your venue.

Highlight great value and service for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and ensure you really deliver on promises made for this special occasion – quality and service are key facets of great value, alongside price.

 

KEY POINT 4

KEY CONSIDERATIONS FOR EASTER

Why do people eat out at Easter? The main reasons over Easter 2023 were for a treat (66%) and to avoid cooking (26%), and they’re likely to be the same again this time around.

Consumers told us that going to a pub allows them to enjoy time with family and avoid cooking or cleaning up, eat traditional food and enjoy a welcoming, fun atmosphere.

Activities for kids and offers and promotions are the key things customers want to see over the Easter period from pubs.

 

SO WHAT?

Highlight the benefits of coming to a pub for food over Easter in your advertising and on social media.

Use offers and activities to drive consumers to the pub, whatever the weather.

Ensure you offer some promotions and activities to make sure the kids have a great time when they visit you at Easter too.