Date added: Wed, 10/08/2016 - 10:38
Experience helps to drive success
When it comes to redeveloping and re-launching a pub, 30 years working in the trade gave Andrena Smith-Bowes and Alan Bowes the confidence and vision to know what would succeed.
The Elizabethan in Dunfermline is a large pub but had not been making the most of its space. Andrena and Alan Smith-Bowes could see that the location, on the edge of a large residential area, meant that if they created the right offer, there was a huge number of potential customers – right on their doorstep.
Belhaven pubs (part of Greene King plc) was prepared to invest money in the site to help us transform the business,' says Andrena. 'They spent around £170,000 to bring it up to the standard we knew would be right for the area. The outside of the pub has been smartened up and a new decking area created, but it's inside where the biggest changes have happened. We now have a huge dining area that can seat 147 covers.'
'Greene King has a Food & Supplies Service where you can buy complete menus or individual dishes and although it's a good service, we have devised our own menu full of authentic Scottish flavours and all cooked in-pub. However, the Food & Supplies Service is flexible enough to mean that we can still buy many of our ingredients and sundry supplies from Greene King and know the quality and price will meet our standards.'
'Just before we re-opened the pub, Greene King worked with us to deliver training for our whole team. Our training was both offsite and in-pub and learning together meant that everybody knew the same things and understood what the new pub was about.'
'Running six pubs means that we can employ centralised resources to help make the most of our businesses. Our marketing team was able to work on the launch and let potential customers know all about the opening. We used Facebook and Twitter and also produced 25,000 leaflets to door drop in local houses and businesses offering 25% off a meal. The response was fantastic!' comments Andrena.
'We knew from the start that the pub needed to offer premium drinks. When customers visit us, they expect the best food and best service so it made sense to offer the best drinks too. Yes we have standard lagers like Tennents and Carling on the bar, but there are also upsell options so people can treat themselves. Cask ale is becoming increasingly popular in Scotland and Greene King IPA is always available. We also serve Noble – Greene King's craft lager – but it is badged as 'North of the Forth' which makes it really popular with customers!'
'Gin is popular at the moment and we're proud to say that we offer 24 different premium gins to choose from. To compliment these, we stock Fever-Tree tonics so that we serve the best G&T in town! It goes without saying that we have a large range of single malt whiskies too – just what would you expect from a premium Scottish pub!'
'As so many customers live within walking distance, it's important that we give them a reason to come and visit on Fridays and at the weekend, so we always lay on some form of entertainment to encourage them to leave the comfort of their armchairs and come to the pub instead!'
Since we re-opened on 1st July, things have been really busy. The pub's original customers appreciate the changes we've made and now have more local residents using the pub regularly, including families, couples and local workers. Our food sales have increased dramatically too – I'd call that a real success!