Let's start this week's blog on a slightly sombre note (don't worry, we'll get onto the good stuff shortly): traditional British pubs have had a torrid time recently. In fact, their once guaranteed trade has been tailing off since the mid-Eighties, due to increasing taxes, a changing demographic, the rise of the gastro pub and availability of cheap supermarket alcohol. Indeed, according to a recent BBC article, pub numbers in England and Wales are now at a record low, not helped in the slightest by the Covid pandemic, punitive business rates, labour shortages, huge hikes in food prices and a mass of red tape. It's a wonder that the 39,970 which remain have the energy to continue at all.
But – and here's that good news we promised – continue they do. Publicans are a hardy, resourceful bunch and never stop in their quest to provide a warm welcome to the people and communities they serve. Their stoicism is remarkable in the face of such challenges, as they continue to innovate their product offers, find their niches and gallantly soldier on in the face of adversity.
Happily, opportunities do arise to give pubs a real chance of thriving and the World Cup is a great example. According to pollsters NielsonQ, over 54% of consumers watch live sport events and over a third of those love to do so in their local boozer.
What an opportunity, then, to pack the pub with an energetic crowd of cheering (and groaning) drinkers only too eager to get the tills ringing! For the publican it is a welcome upswing in fortune and a chance to get the pub back to what it should be – a vibrant, loud, exciting place and full to the rafters with happy, spending and slightly gregarious customers.
As ever, retaining a degree of structure and organisation during pub-based football matches can be a challenge when the raw dynamics of such an event come into play. What started as a good-natured crowd can become a little difficult when the scores don't go its way, or they can't find a table, or have about as much chance of ordering and paying for a pint as Bhutan does of winning the tournament.
Here at Favouritetable, we do like to over-deliver and we'll do so now, because we have even more good news for you: we provide a range of solutions to help pubs manage busy days and nights better, and avoid things getting out of hand. Here's our pick of the best software functionality for pubs wanting to capitalise on World Cup crowds:
You know our view: if, as a publican, you don't have online booking, you're missing out. Web-based reservations are already an established norm in the sector, but did you know you can configure your website-based booking calendar for drinks-only bookings? Doing so allows customers to arrive at the pub safe in the knowledge that their table is reserved and waiting, without having gone through the whole “we don't want food” conversation online. That's the beauty of a flexible booking system.
It's all well and good for the customers to have made their bookings, but if those bookings arrive electronically at the pub in a big, messy pile, it really doesn't help the pub staff. Bookings cramming the pub's inbox have to be manually sorted, resulting in a high chance of errors being made and customers being allocated to the wrong or inappropriate tables. That's no good, because those customers are highly likely to be displeased on arrival and the tension just falls on the shoulders of the pub's manager to sort out.
How do we avoid such turmoil? Simple – with Favouritetable your bookings arrive into an easy-to-read on-screen grid, so you can seen which customers need to be where, and when. Even better, for those who prefer a visual view, we have created beautiful on-screen table and floor plans so you can see at a glance – in pictures – how things should look. From there, covers can be moved, amended and tables relocated simply by dragging and dropping them around the screen.
It's all very well customers finding their reserved tables easily, but the shine will be taken off their joy if the queue to order a drink is ten deep and with a half-hour wait time. Enter order-at-table, which allows customers to choose their drinks from their smartphones and order right from their seats. The order is received by the front of house team into the software system and served in minutes with a smile.
Similarly, customers are now able to pay for their drinks and settle their bills without having to battle that queue at the bar or epos station, just by scanning a QR code on the table and using their credit or debit cards. The system is secure, fast and ensures payment straight into the pub's bank account.
So far we have illustrated a very seamless customer journey for even the busiest of venues, but for savvy publicans it doesn't end with the customers paying and leaving - we want them to come back time after time, and recommend the pub to anyone who will listen. That's easy with Favouritetable, too.
We've designed our reservation system not as a passive tool, but as an active partner with increased revenue and profits at its core. Using our simple editor, publicans can configure their online booking journey to focus on upselling, special offers and promotions. That's great for generating extra income via impulse purchases, but it doesn't stop there. With Favouritetable's reservation software pubs can keep in touch with their customers via text message and email before, during and after the event, encouraging them back to do it all again for their next game and leave a great review online.
Pubs have had a very hard time during the previous decades, years and months but thanks to a fighting spirit and entrepreneurial flair they continue to be vibrant centres of so many communities. The World Cup is an excellent opportunity to capitalise on a collective sense of national pride, excitement and pent-up demand for some out and out fun. A packed pub is the goal, but without the headaches – those in the know use Favouritetable to give backbone to what looks like organised chaos and provide a range of modern solutions sure to create happy, returning and ambassadorial customers.
Favouritetable is contemporary, easy to use restaurant management software designed to increase bookings, efficiency, revenue and profits. Loved by restaurateurs and UK-based, it's the best value full-function restaurant management software on the market.
For a demonstration, call us today on 033 0124 4785 or email us at email@example.com
*Ts&Cs apply. Requires sign-up to a paid subscription to Favouritetable and any optional modules. Free for first month, payments will commence from month two.