Thursday 12 March 2009

Rubbish at any price

I often find myself disagreeing with Roger Protz when he writes, I'm not really sure why but something doesn't seem right when he talks about pubs. He can sure come out with some pearls of wisdom but they are often buried into bigger messages that don't make sense. Although he takes up the cause of the pub I can't help feeling that he is generally out of touch with the real problems facing the thousands of small businesses that form the pub industry. He does try, bless him, and I believe he's a very nice guy.

Last week there was a piece in the Morning Advertiser titled "Careless talk costs pubs" and on the page in the printed version is a big picture of supermarket own brand lager with large star badges proclaiming the 22.5p per can. Although this is a trade paper it does get seen by the man on the street, surely this is the sort of careless talk that does cost pubs. OK, so the picture may not be Rogers fault, I'm guessing he only provided the words.

Why are we, the trade, comparing 2% rubbish lager against the quality service that we provide? We shouldn't. The stuff in the supermarkets is often so rubbish that any price is too much. We need to get out and tell people how wonderful pubs really are. We should be shouting out that people should go to the pub because it's great and a service worth paying for. Lets stop this negative image we are all now projecting.

I firmly believe that we need to point out that pubs charge a little bit more because they are fantastic places to enjoy great products. It's about added value. No self respecting pub would want to sell a lager that is only 2% and tastes like fizzy water. The trade needs to stop talking down the industry and start showing customers how great the trade can be.

It's quiet for us mid week this time of year. We rarely take enough money to cover the overheads, but I'm not complaining. We're getting jobs done that we need to get done, like the new disabled loo and capping the chimneys. More importantly the phone has been red hot this last couple of weeks with people forward booking our rooms for later in the year. I really do think it's going to be the year of the "Staycation" holiday. All we need is a glorious summer.

If people are to stay at home this summer we need to entice them into the pub. If the trade keeps reinforcing the idea that everyone would be better staying in the back garden drinking 2% own brand lager then perhaps that is what they will do.

Pubs are great. Pubs are fantastic. I love going to the pub and always have. I believe many people do love to go to the pub and don't mind paying for quality, comfort and top class service. You can't buy any of that at the supermarket.


Curmudgeon said...

A lot of good sense as usual there. It's a well-established marketing principle that if you denigrate the competition it only draws attention to them.

Going to the pub is a completely different experience from buying drink from the supermarket and consuming it at home - the two are chalk and cheese.

The best way to champion pubs and cask beer is to promote their virtues, not moan endlessly about supermarket drink offers.

Alistair Reece said...

I would guess as well that the kind of person who goes into Tesco or Sainsbury's to buy gallons of cheap weak fizz isn't the kind of person to regularly darken the door of a pub anyway - they would have to miss Coronation Street or EastEnders for a start.

This may sound crazy as I no longer live in the UK, but here's hoping as well that more people stay at home in the future and take their hols in Britain, would do wonders for the industry and people might just remember again that Britain is a wonderful country, full of good people, great food and beer, and some of the most beautiful places on earth.

I get the feeling a lot of people forget that (including the government).

Gazza Prescott said...

You probably disagree with Protz for the same reason I do - he talks gibberish, is totally out of touch with the UK beer scene and seems to think that it's still 1970 with no pesky micro-brewers to challenge the perfection that is Fullers and Charlie Wells.

Anonymous said...

"Pubs are great. Pubs are fantastic. I love going to the pub and always have. I believe many people do love to go to the pub and don't mind paying for quality, comfort and top class service." - couldn't agree more!

In reality supermarkets are not 'the competition' as far as pubs are concerned. I know some see supermarkets as a form of entertainment but they are not part of the leisure/hospitality industry. Pubs are.