Trends In The Pub Trade, Our BDMs Top Predictions For 2018

pub tenancy, pub trade, business development
Written by: Pub Partners Team
Date added: Mon, 08/01/2018 - 10:00

Business Development Managers have their fingers on the pulse of the pub industry. They work with a wide range of pub tenants and lessees, often have hands on experience of the managed house sector, and are passionate about everything to do with the pub trade.

As you might expect, they need to be forward thinking: always looking for the next big thing, monitoring trends in customer behaviour, and helping our pub operators maximise the opportunity in their pubs. The pub trade has seen a lot of changes in the last decade, the maxim that the ‘only certainty is uncertainty’ is very true in this industry, and that means that pub operators, BDMs and others in the business need to flexible and responsive to new trends.

To give you a head start in 2018 our BDMs have shared their top predictions for the pub trade. Remember the industry is very dynamic, so make sure you keep talking to your BDM about any developments and changes you plan to make to your pub business. They will help you align your business with popular trends and make sure you are exploring the potential in your pub.

9 Pub Trends For 2018

1. Premiumisation

This trend has gained a lot of traction in 2017 and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Premiumisation is about taking pubs to the next level, whether that’s a pub at the value end of the market and making it more mainstream, upping the ante with mainstream pubs and introducing a more premium offer, or taking a premium pub and improving its offer to provide customers with a truly unique experience. Premiumisation also comes with a premium price. Customers are happy to pay more for premium products and services, and this can have a very positive impact on your profit margins.

You can learn more about premiumisation here.

2. Premium Spirits And Minerals

Few people can have failed to notice that gin has undergone a massive revival. Once specialist gins were only available at the premium end of the market, now mainstream pubs offer a wide range of different gins and even pubs at the value end will stock more than one brand. This market continues to grow with new products and ways of serving drinks offering customers choice and exciting new flavours. Fruit flavours, flavour balls, premium mixers, onsite gin distilleries are all part of this trend.

Across other spirits dark rum is gaining momentum, offering customers an alternative to gin with just as many brands and serving options. Rum can be distilled in much the same way as gin so can offer pub operators looking for a unique product an opportunity to distil their own rum. Premium mixers are another area of growth to watch out for: both for mixing with premium spirits and for customers wanting non-alcoholic drinks.

3. Healthy Eating And Drinking

While many customers look for healthy options in the New Year, resolving to lose weight, eat better and drink less; this is a trend that is growing throughout the year. Many customers want more than one healthy option on a pub menu, and there is significant demand for food and drink compatible with special diets. Veganism is on the increase, especially amongst younger customers, and pub operators should also make sure they cater for customers with food allergies (gluten, nuts, dairy etc.) and intolerances.

Consumption of non-alcoholic drinks is also on the increase, with customers demanding healthy options as well as premium minerals such as cola and ginger beer. Interesting new products such as Seedlip are capturing the alcohol-free market, providing an alternative to traditional soft drinks.

4. Sharing Plates And Platters

Sharing plates started trending in restaurants a couple of years ago, and continue to be popular with customers. However, many in the pub trade have been slow to embrace this trend although it is ideally suited to the pub environment. Pubs are social places and sharing food (not just eating together) is a very sociable activity. Moreover, many customers in line with the healthy eating trend are looking for light meals with plenty of variety. Sharing plates or platters are a great way to deliver fresh, healthy ingredients, as well as a great social experience.

5. Digital Technology

From free WiFi to contactless payments, customers are increasingly expecting pubs to use digital technology to enhance and streamline their experience. Pub operators should also make sure they’re using digital marketing effectively, many are missing out on opportunities to attract and retain customers relying instead on traditional marketing methods.

6. Plastic Planet

The issue of plastic disposal has become very topical of late. China’s ban on importing plastic for recycling has raised awareness of this problem and made consumers think more about packaging and other single use plastic products. Campaigns such as Refuse the Straw has highlighted where plastic is being used in the hospitality industry, and customers are demanding alternatives. JD Wetherspoon has phased out plastic straws in its pubs, replacing them with biodegradable paper straws, other pubs and restaurants are following suit.

7. 2018 World Cup

Football and sports fans will be well aware that it’s a World Cup year and come June they will be making plans to watch matches with friends in pubs across the country. If your pub screens sport, now’s the time to start planning marketing activities in the run up to first game, and ensure a full house. Alternatively you could use this event to provide a football–free zone and promote your pub to customers who want to avoid the action.

8. Flexibility

Not so much a trend as an attribute that pub operators need in 2018. With the right mind-set, pub tenants have an advantage over managed operators and other hospitality businesses as they can keep pace with change and embrace trends as they happen. To keep ahead of the curve be flexible and agile, ready to change your offer at short notice and meet the demands of the marketplace.

9. The Pub Tenancy / Lease Opportunity

Finally if you already have a pub tenancy or lease, you’re on trend for 2018! This area of the pub trade is thriving as more people look to run their own business and become their own boss. People are coming into the pub trade from all walks of life: some with experience in the trade such as pub managers and others working in the hospitality sector, but also entrepreneurial people with experience running small businesses or working in retail or management roles.

This influx of ‘new blood’ is bringing new ideas and an innovative approach into the lease and tenanted pub sector, which is making pubs very viable and exciting businesses to own.

To explore ways to capitalise on these trends and meet demand from your customers, speak to your BDM about your ideas and also find out what other pub operators are doing successfully.

If you think you want to be part of the trend to own your own business and take a pub tenancy or lease, get in touch with our team to start planning your pub business! There are 3 options:

  1. Apply now to register your interest in running a pub – we’ll get in touch to arrange an interview and talk through your plans.
  2. Sign up for our email series – if you want to know more about running a pub we have a great series of emails packed full of useful information to help you decide what kind of pub to run.
  3. Call the Pub Partners team – if you have a question or want to talk to us about a specific pub, call now 01284 714 497