As the cost-of-living crisis bites we can expect consumers to go out less frequently – a fact recently confirmed by research from hospitality data firm CGA, in which three in five people (60%) said rising costs will lead them to visit venues less often over the next year. However, experience of previous economic downturns also tells us that, when they do come out, they are likely to spend more.
This means pub operators must be primed and ready to drive spend during these visits, as well as delivering customers the best experience possible to encourage them to return.
- Prompt pre-orders
Before customers have even stepped through your door, there is an opportunity to attract some additional spend.
With people increasingly booking ahead to reserve tables or areas (particularly during busy trading times such as Christmas), operators can make the most of digital booking systems that can be set up to encourage customers to buy extras ahead of their visit.
Think about prompting customers to pre-order bottles of bubbly for the table, some nibbles on arrival or special decorations for the table.
- Get customers to spend more per visit
For people going out less, a drink or a meal out is even more of an occasion than it used to be and so customers are potentially more open than usual to upselling.
Menus and staff themselves are, of course, a key element of this but technology can play an important role here too.
Handheld ordering devices can prompt waiting staff with relevant sides and extras related to the dishes being ordered – suggesting an upgrade from fries to parmesan fries for example, or a reminder that the cauliflower cheese is a popular add on to a roast dinner. For those ordering at the bar, fixed terminals can be configured to do the same.
- Leverage the bill
Believe it or not, even settling the bill can be a prime selling opportunity.
While it may be too late to entice customers to purchase anything else on this particular visit, receipts offer prime space in which to highlight promotions and offers to encourage guests back.
Codes for special offers, bounceback deals for the quieter times and, for licensees that also offer takeaway, click & collect or delivery, cross promoting this with a money-off incentive, can all prove lucrative methods for increasing revenue.
- Drive return visits
Just because customers have left for the night, it doesn’t mean the chance to get them to spend has come to an end. In fact, these days post-visit marketing offers a huge opportunity to drive further customer spend – and you won’t need to spend a fortune on fancy technology to achieve it.
Automated emails can be set up to promote special offers, vouchers and gift cards to give to friends and family. A friendly message reminding them how lonely pubs are during quieter periods and tempting them in with a free drink or money-off promotion can work wonders and, for those with a little budget, SMS text message marketing is making a comeback.
Technology can often seem like an expensive investment or a daunting prospect, but simple solutions can help take the strain and make a genuine difference to the bottom line – something that’s feels more important than ever right now.
Zonal has a wide range of technology solutions designed to make life easier and businesses more profitable. Find out more about our range designed specifically with pub tenants and licensees in mind, here.