Last month David Chubb, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), warned pubs not to pin their hopes of a recovery on the World Cup, but instead continue to focus on what they do best.
“With food-led, family pubs having performed well over the course of the recession it is vital that pubs do not allow the World Cup to disrupt the usual customer base,” he said. “They need to remain clear about their offering and avoid turning their dining areas into an extension of the football terraces.”
Separate your space
To avoid alienating your existing customer base, separate your venue’s space into football friendly and football free zones. If, like Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill in London, you have a private dining room to your disposal, use the area to screen games so you don’t disrupt the regular service in the main dining area.
“As we have a beautiful private dining room we thought we might as well make use of it and show the games there,” explained general manager Cyril Lommaert. “Some people aren’t interested in the World Cup and it can be quite disruptive for them, so if we mixed the whole thing together we could potentially upset the people coming to Bentleys just to eat. I think this way we’re offering the best of both worlds.”
Hotels with a fine dining restaurant and separate breakfast area would do well to dedicate one space to football screenings while keeping the other free to run a typical service.
Better yet, make the most of the summer sunshine and set up your outdoor space with a TV screen for some alfresco viewing.
While Renaissance Pubs’ Clapham venue The Stonhouse will be showing the football on a specially installed garden screen, co-owner Mark Reynolds says only the main matches will be shown outside.
“You don’t want to completely take over the place with world cup fever,” he explained. “We still have a telly inside so if people want to watch the football they can. You don’t want to turn your pub into a football pub because people will still want to come in for a glass of wine and a bite to eat.
“I still want to be serving food, otherwise its not going to help anybody in terms of paying the bills.”
Create football havens
Renaissance will be screening the football at four out of five of its venues, with the Bolingbroke remaining a completely football-free zone.
Similarly, Wadworth brewery is splitting its estate into Football Heavens, which will screen the games alongside a number of World Cup-themed competitions and loyalty programmes, and Football Havens, which will offer guests a respite from the matches plus the chance to win a mixed case of South African wine.
However you decide to screen the World Cup, be it in a private dining room, garden, or even as a pop-up bar in the case of Brenhan Magee's Fever Pitch on Fulham Broadway, ignoring your regular customer base and original concept could score you an own goal this summer.
Visit our special feature: FIFA World Cup 2010 section for more ideas and advice.