Chris Broom - The Royal Oak, Bishop's Cleeve
How the Pub Partners Food & Supplies Service increased our GP on food
Chris Broom and his fellow directors came together to take on the lease of the Royal Oak 7 years ago. Chris had lived in the area and met with his colleagues at school, so they felt they had expert local knowledge. They all have separate business interests, so it was important that they found a way to manage the pub that was as easy as possible.
‘Being in a central village location means that news travels fast so we have to maintain high standards,’ says Chris. ‘The pub has built an excellent reputation for great quality pub food and our Sunday lunches are particularly popular.’
‘We have tried many ideas to boost business and most impact on the quality and service we offer to customers, which is never a wise move. We realise that running too many promotions and discounts may generate extra sales but cuts our margins and we’re in danger of becoming ‘busy fools’ – confusing activity with profit!’
WHY THE SERVICE WORKS
‘At a review meeting with our BDM, we discussed the possibility of using the Pub Partners Food & Supplies Service. He explained that it uses the buying power of Greene King’s managed division to deliver dishes and ingredients at lower costs than we could buy them ourselves.’
‘Some of us were keen to give the Service a try right away, but one of our Partners is also a butcher, so he was keen that we could continue to provide customers with the best meat in the area. Also, we have local produce suppliers nearby and felt that it was important to be loyal to them. The Food & Supplies Service can accommodate the needs of our business and is flexible enough to mean that we can also order from local suppliers.’
SIMPLE TO RUN
‘Our chef was keen on the change too, he comes from a managed pub background and realised that accurate dish specifications, full training, portion control and even the right crockery, would make the whole food operation easier to run. The Service has fixed costs for each menu cycle, so we could be sure of our margins in advance.’
‘We introduced everything last summer as part of our normal menu cycle change and Pub Partners provided in-pub training to ensure that we were up to speed. We started with a soft launch open day so we could iron out any teething problems… but there weren’t any!
‘Having used the Service, the forecasts have worked out for us. We are achieving 10-15% higher Gross Profit than before. Customers didn’t even realised that we changed supply and were passing on the great news to friends and neighbours.’
‘The village ‘jungle drums’ have been one of our most effective forms of marketing, we have started to be more active on social media. In the run up to Christmas we ran a promotion for Prosecco that we could have sold many times over. Now we can be sure of the margins we are making, we’re able to introduce food promotion nights too. These will bring customers into the business midweek and provide us with income we wouldn’t otherwise receive.’
‘Going forward, we realise that looking at how we run the business is key to driving profit without affecting customers’ perceptions. We’re even looking at introducing tablets that link directly with our till system so that orders taken directly at the table are more efficiently processed.’