Managed houses, with a food offering and salaried staff rather than part-timers are likely your best bet, though these may be a bit too restaurant like for the casual drinker. It is particularly noticeable that pubs run by tenants often see little point in opening the doors just for the odd one or two punters that might wander in and stretch a pint for a couple of hours. In fact, increasingly, days like Monday and Tuesday are often being written off altogether. This shift in perspective challenges the traditional notion that pubs should remain open at all permitted hours, and highlights the dilemma for pub owners and the effect on the community at large.
The logic is quite a simple one: closing the doors during quiet periods allows pub owners to reduce operating costs significantly. Energy consumption - a huge overhead these days - is decreased and staff wages reduced. By strategically closing during these hours, owners can better match staff to demand, and thus operate more efficiently. Getting opening hours in synch with likely footfall is also good for morale, as it were, as there is little more soul-destroying than overseeing an empty pub as the clock slowly ticks away the pointless hours.
Hopefully too, focusing efforts on the hours when customer footfall is at its highest can also make for a better customer experience, as after all, who wants to sit in a miserably empty pub? Customers make for atmosphere, and the lack of it does not encourage a lengthy stay. Concentrating efforts and resources on peak business hours, can - or here I'll say should - ensure that the service, atmosphere, and offerings are of the optimal standard. It does not work at all if you simply take the same sad old offering and simply spread it over a shorter period. If you are going to open less, greater efforts have to be made to make the pub attractive when you do. And above all, you need to ensure that potential customers know when you will be open. Even now, far too many pubs seem to think that opening hours are some kind of state secret that should jealously be guarded. Telling potential customers about opening hours and what's happening in the pub is not a bothersome extra. It is an essential part of the business.
While the idea of closing pubs during quiet business periods may seem a bad idea at first, it can be an acknowledgement that times have changed and cloth must be cut accordingly. By embracing a more strategic and efficient operational model, pub owners can create a sustainable business that benefits both their bottom line and the customer experience.
In the end, finding the right balance involves satisfying customer
needs, while also securing the enduring sustainability of the business in
a constantly changing market, but it does look as though reduced hours are here to stay and ultimately, better than the pub closing altogether..