Attracting New Customers to Your Pub in 2022

It’s no secret that the last few years have been tough for everyone in hospitality, but it’s been particularly challenging for independent pubs. LSG’s Procurement’s service has helped hospitality venues to reduce purchasing costs throughout the pandemic, but it’s still been hard for many of our members without the regulars coming through the door.

The world has changed dramatically, just over the last twelve months. But, as they say, as one door closes, another one opens.

As the UK gets back to some form of normality, there are new opportunities for independent pubs to bounce back and create new revenue streams. We have pulled together some ideas that may spark your imagination.


The Bounce Back Buzz

It feels like we’ve been talking about ‘bouncing back from COVID’ for the last twelve months, so it’s understandable why some pubs might be wary. However, industry insights report that many people are still looking forward to getting back out there, enjoying themselves and supporting their communities.

This buzz of excitement, combined with increased spending potential due to saving during COVID, means that there is a sizeable customer base that is about to appear for your pubs, bars and restaurants.

Pubs need to make sure they’re going to appeal to this new audience, and there are two key boxes that they should be looking to tick.

First of all, there is an increasing desire for ‘experiences’, something mirrored across other industries such as retail. After years of being stuck on zoom calls and ordering online, customers are desperate for a tangible experience. That experience could be great food, crafted drinks or simply a nice environment to reunite with family and friends.

Secondly, after a pandemic that saw clear winners and losers in the pub world, people are increasingly conscious about supporting their local businesses. Independent pubs should show their colours and be proud of their local produce, staff and origins – people will come out and support.  Don’t underestimate the value to your business of a good, engaged and local team. Investing in good practices such as regular shifts, clear internal communication and ongoing training will help keep your staff motivated and more likely to stay with you, saving you the hassle of recruiting and training at your busy times. Our partner supplier S4 Labour offers a rota management and payroll tool for just £1 per employee per week which will pay back in spades over time.

Another LSG partner supplier, Flow Training offers online training modules to be completed around quieter times.  They have modules on all sorts of topics, from upsell training to compliance.


It’s a Family Thing

For independent pubs to thrive in 2022, they need to grow their audience base. Arguably one of the biggest growth opportunities for independent pubs over the next twelve months will be families, who will be desperate to reunite after years of being physically separated by the pandemic.

According to a survey reported by Big Hospitality in 2021, 75% of families are looking to eat out more now than they were five years ago. In a world filled with screens, families want to spend more quality time together and celebrate family milestones out of the house.

Pubs are uniquely placed to appeal to families, offering a bright and sociable environment to share stories and enjoy quality time together.  Especially after a long drawn out pandemic of home cooking and cleaning up, the pub gives those families the rest/break they deserve.

Independent pubs should look to make sure they appeal to family groups, both inside and out. A refreshed marketing push may be needed to help appeal to new audiences, while owners may also want to consider aspects such as their interior zoning and menu items.

It might not happen overnight, but by making conscious changes like those mentioned above, you can start to establish a new long-term revenue stream for your establishment.

Appealing to a Health-Conscious Population

Perhaps one of the biggest changes we all made during lockdown concerned our health. With more time on our hands, many of us spent those hours working on our health, both physical and mental.

Pubs and hospitality suppliers must acknowledge that some of their customer base will have changed their preferences around both food and alcohol. To increase customer bases and revenues, independent pubs should consider how they can appeal to this growing health-conscious population.

According to Alcohol Change, 2022’s Dry January was the biggest ever, as people stayed committed to their lockdown changes. Paying more attention to your lo and no alcohol ranges can encourage people to spend more evenings at your pub. Appealing to this crowd won’t just encourage more non-drinkers but it can also have a knock-on effect to encourage their family and friends.

Now is also an excellent time for pubs that rely on food trade to revisit their menus to cater for the ever increasing vegetarian and vegan markets


The New Working Crowd

Many years ago, a large proportion of pub’s incomes would have come from the post-work crowd. COVID lockdowns cut this vital income stream off. Now that lockdowns are hopefully a thing of the past, there is still no guarantee that they will return.

According to an Office for National Statistics report from 2021, 85% of adults that were working from home want a ‘hybrid’ approach to work in future. Many major businesses are allowing some staff to work from home in some capacity, meaning it’s very likely there will be fewer feet on the streets when 5 pm comes around.

With this in mind, independent pubs must consider diversifying their revenue streams by appealing to new customers. The working crowd that remains has changed, and many will be looking for new experiences and more health-conscious options.

Technological Opportunities

Many of the most successful pubs over the last few months have made the most of the increasing opportunities available through technology. After years of the pandemic, the general public is more willing to adopt new technological opportunities than ever, and some expect to see these in independent pubs.

Technology can help make the experience in your establishment better. Options such as table ordering apps and check-in options can create a smooth customer experience while also potentially saving on staffing costs.

Technology isn’t just about in your pub, however. Many establishments have unlocked more revenue streams by offering delivery options for both food and drink. There are many potential opportunities to explore, and independent pubs must consider how they can unlock more revenues by adopting such tools.



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