Simon Stenning, the Executive Director of MCA Food Services, advised pubs to embrace specialization, premiumisation and modernization in order to survive and meet customer expectations at the Bar and Pub Show in London.
Simon’s keynote presentation was supported by various consumer statistics from the pub market report 2017. The insight provided shown that both millennials and generation Z should become key consumer targets to ensure sustainability within the pub industry.
Top 20 leisure activities
Out of 2,000 surveyed consumers aged between 18-34, 14.8% put social media as their number one leisure activity. Conversely, drinking out in a pub was ranked 16th with 1.6%. The young generation prefer to stay in, and take advantage of the plethora of new age, highly socialised media platforms, where they can hang out, game and shop instantly and effortlessly from anywhere. However, the potential consumers hunger for engagement on social media is huge, and a prime opportunity for pubs and bars to benefit from increased brand awareness and direct engagement with punters.
What do millennials LIKE and DISLIKE about pubs?
Understanding the ideal consumer journey expectation of the younger generation will help businesses adapt their offering and increase the value of pub visits in the top 20 leisure activity chart.
“Consumer expectations are going up” – Simon Stenning
According to the pub market report 2017, millennials are attracted to factors such as atmosphere; environment; level of friendliness; type of music; places where they can relax and socialize with good food and drinks when choosing between pubs.
On the contrary; some of the most discouraging factors identified in the pub market report were the level of noise; bad smell and rowdiness. Millennials dislike crowded and expensive pubs where the term “drunk” screams as soon as you enter the premises.
Social media is one of the most effective communication channels for businesses to use and attract customers of all demographics. Pubs should use it to help consumers re-discover the pub culture, and therefore become a part of its community.
Free Wi-Fi in pubs is a necessity
Consumers aged between 18-21, absolutely love free Wi-Fi. Out of all the other factors that attract them to pubs; this one plays a strong part in the decision making process. According to Simon Stenning, this age group considers Wi-Fi to be as essential as health and safety. In Geniusin’s opinion this is down to 3 possible reasons:
- Consumers between 18-21 years old will most likely be students with limited income who will rather take the benefit of free Wi-Fi as oppose to a costly phone contract.
- They are technology sponges. Free Wi-Fi will encourage them to use various brand loyalty schemes or use apps like buzz2get or getWaiter! to boost their customer experiences.
- They represent the ‘instagram generation’. They absolutely love sharing pictures of colorful drinks, tasty food and good banter on social media giving you a steady dose of free advertising.
Consumer expectations are rising, and so should the level of service and attention to detail in the venue itself. To succeed, pubs need to differentiate themselves from competition through specialisation. Businesses must offer a greater leisure experience to the one the consumers are accustomed to at home by making use of modern premiumisation. Traditional pubs should embrace modernisation immediately, using available restaurant technology to boost customer experiences. Most importantly, pub and bar owners should consider Social media a never ending buffet of opportunities to promote, engage, and interact with their target audience.
See the Pub and Market Report for a full breakdown of the UK’s pub landscape.