For many years, the UK was seen as having a heavy drinking culture where it was common to see young people going out in the evenings and binge drinking. In fact, the local pub has always been seen as the social focus for many people, going for drinks after work and at weekends to see friends.
In the past few years, however, there has been a growing move away from alcohol by young people, who have decided to follow a teetotal lifestyle. For those businesses that make their money on selling alcohol such as pubs, this trend has caused serious problems, leading to as many as 14 pubs closing on average each week according to the Campaign for Real Ale.
With this in mind, here are some of the questions you may need to ask as a business owner, and how you can try to keep your business profitable in the future.
Why is Teetotalism on the Rise?
When alcohol was allowed to be sold in supermarkets, many people believed it would cause a decline in sales at pubs because people could start drinking at home instead. While this was cause for concern for many businesses, the change in the drinking culture in recent years, seems to have had a more severe impact.
It seems that 18-24-year-olds are now seeing the once-popular binge-drinking trend as something they no longer need to participate in, in order to have a good time. It is now thought that only one in ten Millennials see drinking alcohol as ‘cool’ and think that the benefits to their mental and physical health outweigh the need to get drunk.
For owners of pubs and wine bars, this means that they have to start thinking about what they want to offer their customers.
Should Pubs Adapt?
With alcohol historically being one of the main reasons people go to the pub, owners are now faced with the decision to adapt to accommodate more customers including teetotalers or stay true to their heritage.
Part of the answer lies with the current customer base that the pub has, and if this demographic has changed significantly. For example, many people from older generations still like to go to pubs and wine bars for a night out to socialise with their friends over a pint. If your customers are mainly made up from this age range, then changing your approach might not make much difference. However, if you’re situated in an area where there are a lot of young people, then trying to attract them with non-alcoholic alternatives, may well increase your sales.
How to Attract Teetotalers to Your Business
If you have made the decision to try and adapt your business and start attracting teetotalers, then there are a few ways that you can do this effectively.
Even though you may have done this when you first started your business, the changing social climate means you should always try to ascertain and predict any new trends and adapt to incorporate them. Market research doesn’t have to be expensive, there are many ways that you can get the data you need.
For example, you can place questionnaires on the tables and ask your customers to complete them. Alternatively, you can pay for market research teams to ask the opinions of people in the area around your business.
Showing the Options Available
Many people who don’t drink alcohol may not always be aware of the fact that there are many non-alcoholic options available. This means you need to use effective ways to bring these other options to the attention of your customers.
One idea is to have banners or posters hanging behind the bar with alcohol-free options. They can be especially effective at promoting new drinks that your new and existing customers don’t know about yet.
It can also be a good idea to have alcohol-free drinks clearly on display so that customers can see what’s available. There are many commercial bottle coolers on the market that can effectively display these options and advertise what’s on offer.
Although traditional advertising can be expensive, there are other options that you can use to promote your business and its alcohol-free drinks.
One way is to see if there are any advertising opportunities in your local community. There may be options for you to place posters in other retail outlets where you know young people will go.
Social media is by far the most effective way to drive new customers to your business. By simply posting about new drinks or menu items on your Facebook or Twitter account, you can place this in front of thousands of people in your area. You also have the option to post advertisements on these platforms to gain you more impact.
Apart from advertising and displaying new drinks and non-alcoholic alternatives, there are other ways that you can attract new customers to your business that will also lead to more drink sales.
There is an increasing number of pubs that have started offering food either part or all of the day. This goes beyond the typical small snacks that some pubs traditionally offer, to a table served experience that makes it more of a restaurant than a pub. Many rural pubs have had success moving into this area of business.
Music and Entertainment
While pubs have often had entertainment, some businesses are trying to focus more on the entertainment they offer as a way of bringing back the social aspect. This means live music, open mic evenings and of course, live sport on televisions.
Some pubs have taken the bold step of adding other business ideas that they hope will attract customers to the pub. These include offering markets to set up in the car park and even turning one part of the pub into a barbershop.
Whether you decide to try and adapt your business to keep up with popular trends or focus on the heritage of the pub, there is a clear need to tailor your business to your clientele and deliver the products that your customers want and enjoy.