Countdown To Christmas For Next Year’s Pub Landlords!

running a pub, pub events, pub food
Written by: Pub Partners Team
Date added: Mon, 12/12/2016 - 10:00

For our pub landlords, Christmas is a very busy time of year. From office Christmas parties, to informal Christmas drinks with friends; pubs do a great trade over the winter holiday if they seize the opportunity.

If you are planning to take on a pub in 2017, this time next year you could be celebrating your first Christmas in your new pub!

Therefore it’s a really good time to think about how you plan to deliver a memorable Christmas to your future customers, and make the most of the increase in business the holidays bring. This year why not visit some of your local pubs to see what others are up to, get inspiration, and perhaps even spot a gap in the market?

If you want to kick start your search for a pub to run, get in touch with our team today to explore what opportunities are available.

5 Things Successful Pubs Do At Christmas

#1: Christmas Parties

Many companies and organisations (sports clubs, volunteer groups etc.) want a venue to host their Christmas party in and pubs can be a very convenient and easy way to do this. Christmas parties come in all shapes and sizes, from a Christmas lunch or dinner for a small group of people, to hiring a function room with food, entertainment and a free bar.

This means there’s a chance for all pub landlords to get in on the Christmas party scene. Think about what you can offer, who your target customers would be, and what other pubs are doing. Perhaps there’s an opportunity to do something different that other local pubs don’t offer, and bring more trade into the pub.

If you’re hoping to take on a pub in your area, go and see what the competition is up to and make a note for next year. Or, if you have a clear idea of the type of pub you want to run, visit similar pubs and find out what works for them.

#2: Christmas Menu And Drinks

Lots of people make an effort to meet up with friends and family over the Christmas holidays and want a nice place for seasonal food or drinks. A Christmas menu, or just a few seasonal dishes, is a great way to offer something special without a party booking.

Little touches like Christmas crackers for those ordering from the Christmas menu (and their friends) will make their meal that bit more festive, and encourage them spread the festive good cheer by telling others about your pub.

A great festive drinks offer is another way to introduce the spirit of Christmas into the pub, without a huge amount of effort. Mulled wine, seasonal beers like Greene King’s Rocking Rudolph, or festive cocktails will tempt customers who are after something celebratory at this time of year.

A good range of spirits is also a must; sales of spirits typically increase by 40% in December. Consider stocking a choice of premium whiskies, brandies, and other spirits for those customers who want something special, and don’t forget the bubbles! Prosecco, sparkling wines and champagnes go down well with festive customers who want to put some fizz into their Christmas.

#3: Christmas Events

Many cities, towns and villages have a busy Christmas calendar that local pubs can tap into. Christmas markets, for example, are a great opportunity to pull in visitors off the street and into your pub with a special offer on the day. Late night shopping events can also bring more people passed your door, so a late night food offer for tired shoppers could be just what they’re looking for.

Alternatively you could host your own Christmas events such as a carol concert, Christmas fayre or charity fundraiser. Local choirs may be delighted to have an opportunity to sing, local craftspeople and producers are always looking for new places to sell their goods, and supporting a local charity is something everyone will want to get behind.

#4: Make Christmas Eve Special

Depending on the location of your pub and whom your pub caters for, there are lots of ways to make Christmas Eve a memorable experience for everyone. For example, some pubs host a ticketed Christmas party on the night, limiting numbers and ensuring everyone has a good time.

This might not suit every pub. If you’re interested in a country location you will rely on the goodwill of the local residents to support you, and ticketing an event could result in a poor show. In this case it may be better to invite them to celebrate Christmas Eve in your pub, perhaps provide some food and entertainment too, and take the opportunity to thank them for their support over the year.

#5: Christmas Day and Boxing Day: Will You Be Open?

This Christmas it may be worth finding out which of your local pubs is planning to be open on Christmas Day or Boxing Day. In many parts of the UK everything seems to close down on these days, but that doesn't necessarily mean there’s no demand from customers.

Some of the busiest pubs in the country will be those that open for a couple of hours at lunchtime on Christmas Day when all the competition is closed. Find out who opens, what hours they do, and what kind of trade they get in. This information could give you the edge next year.

Demand from customers will vary from locals wanting a festive drink before going home for Christmas lunch, to younger people looking to escape their family in the evening! Boxing Day can also be profitable with people wanting to get out after spending Christmas Day at home. It will all depend on the location and type of pub you decide to run.

Finally, the Christmas holidays are a great time to put your plans to run a pub into action. If you’ve got some time off use it to research the market, visit pubs and chat to landlords about the trade, and contact breweries and other pub operators to see what they have available.

You could also get cracking with your business plan and get 2017 off to a flying start! Download our business plan template here.

Most of all have a very Happy Christmas and New Year!