Sixty per cent of pubs saw an upturn in trade during the second week of the London 2012 Olympics, with one in five operators seeing like-for-likes increase by 11 per cent or more compared with the same period last year.
A survey of 20 pub companies (1180 sites) by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) also confirmed the non-appearance of the feared logistical disruptions, with only one in 10 operators reporting delivery difficulties.
“The public perception was that London wouldn’t be able to handle the Games influx, so people stayed away,” said the ALMR’s chief executive Nick Bish. “But these fears were unjustified and then it became clear that pubs and bars were after all the best place to celebrate the success of Team GB.”
The revelations come in stark contrast to difficulties operators experienced the week before; three-quarters of operators reported like-for-like sales were down on the previous year, with in excess of a third saying sales were more than 10 per cent adrift and more than 20 per cent in central London.
Bish added: “It’s heartening to see such a turnaround after a difficult first week of trading and to report that pubs and bars are an essential part this is a testament to the warmth, vibrancy and vitality of the modern British pub.
“The significant improvement in week two indicates both the massive outpouring of support for the London Olympics and the wonderful work done by entrepreneurial operators to ensure that everyone who came out to experience the Games was able to enjoy the very best of British hospitality.”
Last week, BigHospitality headed over to East London for this audio podcast, which revealed how the London 2012 Olympics had effected pubs in the area.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given their close proximity to the Olympic Park, our interviews with Daniel Barr of Tap East, Craig Pritchard of Town & Country Pub Company's The Goose and Janet Dooner, licensee of The Railway Tavern, demonstrate that there were winners within the hospitality industry.
“Trade started to double leading up to the Olympics and it’s tripled during the Olympics,” said Barr. “The pubs are doing very well in this area, lots of clientele and lots of money that they’re willing to spend.
Pritchard added: “Trade has been crazy over the past couple of weeks. Last week, we had a 50 per cent uplift which has been pretty demanding on the management team but it’s been really exciting. The week before, we had a 40 per cent uplift as well.”
“Overall our trade has been up by about 40 per cent,” said Dooner. “Our lunchtime trade has been steady but our best time has been from about 7 or 8 in the evening. We had a few hiccups with deliveries but a few phone calls and it was sorted. “
There are still questions over the event’s lasting legacy on the pub trade, with Bar from Tap east adding “I don’t think the Olympics is going to have such a great positive effect on the pub trade, the British pub will do that on its own as it has done for several years now.”