HOW TO KEEP THE BOAT AFLOAT IN JANUARY

It is not often that I get the opportunity to observe a promotion that I haven’t been involved with at close quarters but this month I did.

My ‘local’ – The Red Lion in Cheswardine, Shropshire  – is a real ale drinkers haven with its own on site brewhouse. It is owned by the landlord so avoids the dead hand of pub companies, has a loyal following and hosts a number of community groups such as Book Club, Gardening club, Allotment Society, folk music nights as well as the usual roster of quiz nights and dominoes teams. Despite this January is often a month when turnover drops as some choose to do the post Christmas detox or are watching the pennies after a Christmas and New Year spending spree.

A FRESH PINT OF 'BLOOMING BLONDE' FROM LIONS TALE BREWERY

A FRESH PINT OF ‘BLOOMING BLONDE’ FROM LIONS TALE BREWERY

The landlord keeps a keen eye on his margins and wasn’t prepared to preside over a New Year slump so he gave it some though and came up with a simple but effective mechanic that played well with many aspects of how regulars relate to their local and their local to them. It was a variation on the loyalty card/ frequent user card.

THE MECHANIC

Each participant has a card that is stamped each time they buy a pint ( 2 stars) or half (1 star) of the in house brewery beer. Once they have 50 stars stamped on their card they are entitled to a polo shirt embroidered with the pub’s name and emblem – so long as stocks last.

THE RECORD OF BEERS BOUGHT

THE RECORD OF BEERS BOUGHT

THE VIRTUOUS CIRCLE

  • Supports the regulars – the embroidered polo shirts fulfilling the promotion were sourced from a regular
  • Rewards regulars drinking the real ale brewed on the premises
  • Rewards the landlord as its the product with the best margin
  • Rewards loyalty and regular ‘attendance’
  • Strengthens the sense of the pub as a social gathering place

 

As with any promotion it matters little how ingenious or entertaining a promotion is unless it delivers measurable and positive results to the bottom line. In this case the results can quite literally be measuredly the barrel. With three quarters of the month gone as I write this most of those polo shirts have gone to satisfied regulars who can have a sense of loyalty rewarded – even if they only ever wear it for gardening and the landlord has bridged the January lull successfully. Margins have been protected and sales increased. What is more the regulars have been rewarded for doing something they like to do in good company.

It is a great result when a business initiative results in pleasure for all involved – particularly at the low point of the year.

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