Barclaycard data shows that pubs and restaurants have seen a growth in consumer spending throughout January. The first month of 2018 saw restaurant sales increase by 10.5% and pub sales increase by 12.8%. The reports come amid declining confidence in the UK economy which has fallen to 29%.
Paul Lockstone, managing director at Barclaycard, said: “While spending on the ‘experience economy’ proved to be a natural and welcome antidote to the January blues, the dip in sentiment revealed by our consumer confidence data, allied to concerns over economic and political uncertainty, is quite telling. It suggests that caution will continue to be the watchword for many consumers as they allocate their household budgets in the months ahead.”
Having recently reported on Briton’s preference to return to venues in which they are familiar with and have previously enjoyed it is clear that businesses must capitalise on every opportunity. The insights show that businesses within the industry must lock on to consumer habits and make the most of occasions. With many public holidays and events coming within the next few months, it is paramount that restaurants and pubs focus on providing specialised packages to capitalise on the potential of these occasions.
Valentine’s Day is a major event for the industry and bars and restaurants went to new extremes to make it extra special for their guests this year. The Taproom in St Ives put together a cocktail list especially for the occasion, having invested in bespoke menu holders made by Smart Hospitality Supplies. With more customers than usual on this day, it is this attention to detail that sets them apart and ensure ‘their people’ come back for more.
In America, we saw stories of restaurants doing everything they could to beat their competitors to Valentine’s Day success. With Pauli’s restaurant in Boston offering Valentine’s guests a burger worth $3,000. The burger was topped with cheese, bacon, onion rings and… a 14-carat gold engagement ring studded with diamonds. This was a unique offering that put the restaurant in the spotlight for Valentine’s Day. Whether this has worked to entice more visitors on the 14th of February remains to be seen. What is proven, however, is that establishing long-term customers by getting the basics right and then offering an irresistible offer on special days is the winning formula to restaurants remaining profitable.
With Mother’s Day, the most profitable day of the year in the industry, quickly approaching, it’s time to reconsider your offering and see how you can make the most of every opportunity. Providing quality in harder times is the key to success for the future.
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