Running a pub is a social experience like no other.
Eye to eye contact, smiley faces, the sound of laughter and conversation, the smell of freshly cooked food. When you get it right you can take a moment from running your pub, stand back and smile. It’s hard work to get to that point, and these are all real world markers of success.
But delve deeper and don’t be surprised that this success is entwined with a successful and rich online presence far exceeding a few facebook posts.
That waiter putting two lamb shanks down for those regular lunchtime customers that stepped into the pub less than 5 minutes ago has been able to do so because they ordered online in advance at 10am. Lunch hour suddenly became relaxing. The laughter coming from the bar is from customers taking “funny smile selfies” for your smile Friday twitter competition. The guy at the bar showing his digital loyalty card is collecting more points for his free pint of Guinness. He’s now just one point away – he’ll be back tomorrow. The woman next to him is eagerly waiting to be served that cask beer she loves but you only get in occasionally. Good job you told her via an SMS alert, and she’s brought her friends.
Drifting through the doors later will be Sam and a party of 10. It’s Sam’s birthday and he is making the most of the birthday voucher your website automatically sent him. 6 of his party are new customers. They’ll be joined by another 40 that have come watch the David Bowie tribute act that was advertised on your website and automatically on Facebook and Twitter.
Beep Beep goes your phone, another booking has come through. Table for 6 at 8.30pm tomorrow. Click. Confirmation Sent.
Next door one of your competitors is seeing similar success, although his profits have been severely hammered by a £200 a month loyalty scheme that is being used but losing him lots of money, £200 on a table booking system with outrageous commission fees and subscriptions to various “online marketing tools” and SMS marketing software he’s not sure even works. A bit further up the road The Old Black Horse is closing down. They did lovely food but didn’t have a website, but they did do social media, just that no-one listened.
Beep Beep. Another message, your designers have finished the posters for the next live music event and attached a digital copy of the poster for your website. Only takes a minute to upload, and just in time for the next newsletter.
The above is an article that appeared in ontrade progress April 2017.