Tuesday, 24 June 2014

A Mixed Blessing


I had a pint with one of my local landlords at the weekend while visiting his pub.  I like to do this when I can, as it keeps me in touch with what's happening locally - essential for my day job as CAMRA Branch chairman.  I asked if the World Cup was helping trade and he pulled a face.  While he had 90 or so in his vault watching England on Thursday night, his thriving (but TV free) lounge and restaurant were more or less empty and his beer garden, on one of the most pleasant and warmest nights of the year had nary a soul in it.

The assembled horde in the vault supped plenty of beer, but overall, his trade on the day was well down.  This contrasted with when England played late - after normal usual closing time - when people could have their normal night out, then go home and watch the game, while as a bonus, the vault (the only part of the pub with TV), was again filled with extra custom.  We talked about whether he could have put TV in other areas of the pub for this four yearly event only, but although he considered it, the logistics, as well as the fact that it isn't what he is trying to achieve in his pub, ruled it out.  He felt it better overall to just take the hit on what will, sadly, turn out to be one night only.   He isn't expecting much from the last and meaningless England game either trade - or indeed football wise.  Overall the World Cup has, on balance,  been good for trade, but it has been a bit lumpy and certainly not a money spinner..

He wasn't pleased to see England go home early by any means, but it seems, life for some pub landlords at least, will be simpler now.

Lees new seasonal, Golden Peddler, is pretty decent too, assuming you actually want a beer to drink as opposed to beer as an intellectual exercise.


14 comments:

Cooking Lager said...

yeh, every global event should be scheduled to ensure the pubs benefit, like.


Tandleman said...

Every business should try and take advantage of global events surely Cookie?

RedNev said...

Surveys have shown that most people are not interested in football. The first night of the World Cup coincided with my singaround in the Lion. The admittedly small room we were playing in was full, both with performers and people listening, whereas two people were watching the match on the other side.

More than one licensee has told me that the custom generated by Sky Sports doesn't cover the cost, some even having it removed. I'm told that most people who turn up for the match don't drink a great deal and vanish once the game is over. They don't become regulars, or even semi-regulars.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

So, he pulled a face at your question about whether the World Cup had increased his trade.
But he wasn't prepared to put in an extra TV because he said " it isn't what he is trying to achieve in his pub. "
Another whiney publican who can't be arsed to deliver what the customer wants.
The well of sympathy for that gombeen runs pretty dry.

Tandleman said...

PPT. You really are off the mark here. Yet again. He runs a very successful pub by attracting decent high spending customers, wasn't moaning at all and is doing very nicely thank you.

He weighed it up from a business point of view and took the hit. Business decision.

No moaning involved, but you see it how you like.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

Well I'd presumed the face he pulled wasn't one of delight.
Hence my post.
I suspect as the competition gets more interesting in the latter stages he may regret his decision - here in Ireland which hasn't qualified for this tournament the WC has boosted trade in my local pubs and I'm pretty sure there are not many Ecaudorians or Ghanaians living here.
But maybe I'm off the mark.
Yet again.

RedNev said...

Yes, you are, PPT. TM wrote that the World Cup was "certainly not a money spinner" for the pub in question, and that reflects my own conversations with licensees. In some pubs, the presence of a large group of shouty, swearing men (they're almost always males) puts off some regulars. My local has a TV in one room only, which is great as I can go into one of the other three drinking areas. If TVs were everywhere, I wouldn't be there at all, and seeing that the majority aren't much interested in football, as I previously wrote, there's a good chance they would put off more people than they'd attract.
Strange though it may seem, some of us lead lives untouched by the sight of 22 overpaid yobs kicking a bit of leather into a net.

py said...

the world cup is on terrestrial, hence there is no obligation to go to the pub to watch it.

its the stuff that isn't on terrestrial tv that pubs could make a killing from showing, if only they could be bothered to do it properly, but so few of them can be bothered.

Oh well, its their life savings going down the drain, not mine.

Professsor Pie-tin said...

@RedNev
" Strange though it may seem, some of us lead lives untouched by the sight of 22 overpaid yobs kicking a bit of leather into a net."
Well I'd suggest you're probably in the minority on this planet at the moment where the WC is a genuinely global event attracting male and female attention.
But I tend not to generalise in quite the same way as you.Not every footballer is an overpaid yob and not everyone who watches football on TV in a pub is a shouty,sweary male.
If the landlord in question is happy not to have a second TV in his pub then good luck to him - my original post about him pulling a face when asked about the World Cup suggests he probably had mixed feellngs about it.
Although I also presumne he was happy with the 90 " shouty,sweary males watching 22 overpaid yobs kicking a piece of leather into a net " in his vault.
Ain't it a bugger to have to run a successful business ?

Curmudgeon said...

I like your tagline. People enjoying beer in an uncomplicated way - have they not seen the light?

RedNev said...

PPT: "I'd suggest you're probably in the minority on this planet at the moment where the WC is a genuinely global even ..."

Against your suggestion, I'd quote a fact that 57% of people in a British survey stated they have either little or no interest in football.

I know licensees who have removed Sky Sports because it doesn't pay its way, and others who keep it even though they say it's of no significant financial advantage.

But thank you for your suggestion. Let's not allow facts to get in the way of speculation.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

@RedNev
If you're going to quote a survey you might wish to source it.
And as for landlords keeping SKY even though it's of no significant financial advantage I find that hard to believe given the significant costs of Sky Sports to commercial premises.
There are nine pubs in the town where I live and not a single one doesn't carry Sky Sports.
At 5pm last night the pub I was in watching USA v Germany was packed to the gunwhales with male and female drinkers.
Including my missus who is part of that 57% who have little or no interest in football but likes the atmosphere generated by the WC.
Mind you the WC is unusual because it's on free terrestrial TV - even the pubs in my nearest city which don't normally carry Sky Sports have the ITV/BBC feed going.

Curmudgeon said...

"There are nine pubs in the town where I live and not a single one doesn't carry Sky Sports."

Surely that's suggestive of a herd mentality - wouldn't the absence of Sky Sports be a business opportunity for at least one?

And I doubt whether in England USA vs Germany would have drawn a single extra punter into the pub.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

@mudgie.
Irish pubs are slightly different than the UK.
They've always been predominantly male,although less so now, and there isn't really a tradition of serving food although that too is changing slowly.
So GAA,horse-racing,football and rugby have always been big crowd-pullers in pubs.
Fortunately my local,which has Sky Sports,only shows rugby and nothing else. The TV is taken down between matches on the correct presumption that a TV,even mute,is a conversation killer.
I prefer the ebbs and flows of chat, the slagging and the scourging and just occasionally the raised voice - and that's just when the local priest is in !