Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Follow Up

No sooner had I written my piece on bar snacks than the good old Morning Advertiser - sorry - The Publican's Morning Advertiser, jumped in with a story on the same theme.  Of course they have to go a bit too far with some rather exotic suggestions and please note publicans  - not all bar snacks need to to be fried - but nonetheless it is good that the trade paper is latching on to this obvious gap in the market.

All is not sweetness and light though. While it is good that the message is being picked up and while exotic tapas and the like are fine and dandy, don't forget, keeping it simple will work too."We don't necessarily want a full meal" though is a great message which should be heeded. Sadly there is no mention of pork pies, filled rolls, sandwiches or scotch eggs, which kind of makes me think that the wish to over complicate and subsequently over price and then extrapolate that to "no demand"  is alive and well.

Let's keep asking in the pubs for what we really want.


Neil, Eating isn't Cheating said...

Couldn't agree more! Can't beat tradtional when it comes to pub snacks. A good homemade scotch egg or proper butchers prok scratching are things to behold.

The Brewery Tap in Leeds city centre (A Leeds Brewery pub) used to do a nice bar menu called 'Yorkshire Tapas' which consisted of small versions of things such as toad in the hole or simply a small selection of fresh local breads with oil and vinegar. Simple and tasty.

Barm said...

The basic issue is that the model of where pubs make their money is changing. Pub food used to be about keeping the punters in the pub drinking and stop them drifting off somewhere else due to hunger. So it was in the publican's interest to have it cheap and basic. Now that so many pubs are 'food-led', that doesn't apply any more and they'll charge whatever the market will bear. The pork pies and cheese sandwiches disappear too, because there's a limit to how much you can charge for a cheese sandwich, and it cannibalises sales of the fancier stuff.

Tandleman said...

I think I understand that point Barm, but in many pubs which aren't food led, you get no snacks at all, or just main meals. I think the basic missing a trick point still stands.

It doesn't have to be one or the other. It could be both. Or neither regrettably.

For me I'd never have a main meal just because I can't have a sandwich. They'd just lose a sale from me and others like me I'm sure.

Birkonian said...

A big problem in Britain is the restricted hours that the punter can purchase food. The '12:00 till 2:00, 6:00 till 8:30' mentality is still common and the batches and pies are available until they run out. Speaking personally, my need for food isn't confined to those hours and indeed increases the longer the session goes on. Contrast Belgium where bars offering food/snacks usually do so late into the night. I remember asking a bartender in Brussels how late they served food. "Until we close" was the puzzled reply.

Curmudgeon said...

Of course the last point is one that cannot be levelled against Spoons, love 'em or loathe 'em.

Most chain dining pubs offer food all day, of course, but in town centres the choice will often be Spoons or McD's.

Stuart Ross said...

"pork pies, filled rolls, sandwiches or scotch eggs" my favourites, may I also add Cornish (style) pasties like what I ate at the Rake while drinking.

HardKnott Dave said...

This is a subject of great interest to me. When we had our pub we had great difficulty getting the food right. Balm makes some very important points about the need to ensure whatever is offered does not detract from core business.

It's a complex subject often oversimplified by pub critics. There are issues associated with food hygiene, perishability and shelf-life of food stuff, stock rotation, space to hold stock, cost of chilling, heating and consumables, the list goes on.

For all of these reasons and more besides many establishments choose to go down the fancy route as once you decide you have to have a kitchen the only way to make it pay is to have high value.

Despite all of that, I'm sure you are right many could do it better. I rather think I'd do things a lot different if I started over.