Top tips for driving sales in your pub


Picture this. It’s a Tuesday night and your pub is packed – it’s standing room only. Even better, it’s like that every Tuesday. You’re pulling in Friday night-sized crowds every night of the week and driving up sales all the time.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? But boosting sales in your pub needn’t be the stuff of dreams. You can make it happen in your pub, too.

The challenge of running a pub today

The British pub is an institution. They are at the heart of our communities, an important part of the tourist trade, and used as landmarks whenever we’re asked for directions.

However, running your own establishment is not always simple and not all pubs are full every night of the week. According to figures from the Campaign for Real Ale, pubs in the UK are closing at a rate of one every 12 hours.

In fact, more than a quarter of pubs in Britain have ceased trading since 2000. And while this should mean there’s less competition, pub owners still have to work hard for every pound they make.

Top tips on how to increase sales in a pub

The magic question any pub owner wants an answer to is: How can I increase the sale of food and/or drink in my pub? But the answer doesn’t have anything to do with magic – or luck, for that matter. Instead it’s all to do with making the right calculations, working out the best upselling strategies and coming up with smart promotions.

Here are seven simple steps to help you drive sales and run a more efficient pub.

1 Keep up with current trends

Food and drink trends are what make customers want to come back for more. For pubs serving food, one trend that’s big news right now is vegetarian or vegan options. Being able to cater for customers with dietary requirements is another way to attract more footfall. As far as drinks are concerned, craft ales, gin and Aperol Spritz have all been big news in recent years. Moving forward will see greater emphasis on alcohol-free options (with millennials going booze free), English wines, and tipples that are truly Instagrammable.
A dish of vegan food served in a pub

2 Promotions

If you want to get customers through the door, drinks promotions are a sure-fire way of doing just that. And who doesn’t love a happy hour? Drinks promotions and happy hours will put a smile on customers’ and publicans’ faces alike. But why stop at just drinks? Savvy pubs offer deals on food as well to keep customers for longer. And while casual dining may have seen its heyday, people are still keen for eating options that sit somewhere between a traditional pub and a full-service restaurant.

3 Become part of the community

Pubs are important parts of any community. Making your pub a meeting point for local groups such as parents with kids, cyclists, and book clubs is a good way of strengthening your brand and bolstering business. Music is another good way of drawing in the crowds – as long as you strike the right balance between noise levels and your neighbours. There is also an increasing customer demand for locally-produced food and drink, so teaming up with local microbreweries, bakeries, and community farms is a great way to give your customers food and drink with provenance.
A busy pub with people standing around the bar

4 Go digital to raise the bar

We live in a digital world, and tech can significantly boost the sales performance of a bar or pub. When JD Wetherspoon launched its Order & Pay app in 2017, it was effectively saying no one will ever need to queue at the bar again. Mobile ordering has increased sales and revenue for Wetherspoons, and shows there is value in offering customers the opportunity to digitally order their food and drink. Free and fast wi-fi is a must in the bar business, drawing customers in during the day, while bar tablets can be used as a customer-facing POS system, providing a digital menu, order, and payment system.

5 Up your social media game

Regularly posting on Facebook is not enough to make your pub or bar a success. You need to up your social media game if you are going to attract more customers and boost sales. Getting listed on apps such as Untapped and TapHunter means drinkers can check in at bars serving their favourite craft beers. If your target audience is millennials, you might want to get busy on Snapchat or Instagram. Or why not connect with an influencer to promote your bar on social media?

6 Think seasonally

Your customers want different things from your pub at different times of the year. A refreshing drinks menu in the warmer months is likely to be well received. And the same can be said for traditional pub roasts and mulled wine/ cider/ ale/ fruit juice during the winter. Other seasonal offers include house cocktails, pumpkin spice lattes, and mocktails (especially good in January when people look for alternatives to alcohol).
A glass of mulled wine

7 Become an upselling pro

Increasing sales in your pub isn’t just about attracting more customers, it’s also about getting current customers to spend more. Research shows that 94% of people say yes to a request when ‘because’ is included in the question. For example: “Would you like to try our beer flight? Because it’s a great way to find your favourite.” Plus, studies show that if customers can try a drink for free, they are 2000% more likely to ask for the full pour. Oh, and they’re generally willing to spend 10% more for a well-described cocktail.

There’s a lot to think about when running your own pub. From traditional boozer to gastropub, you want your business outlet to be a success and get customers through the door. As well as doing what you can to boost sales, it’s important to make sure you have the right pub and restaurant insurance in place to protect you, your business and your customers.

If you’d rather focus on your customers than sort out insurance, the team at Insurance Choice can help. We can find the right pub and restaurant insurance policy at the right price. Get in touch for a free quote today.