Pubs and bars try out new ideas to beat recession
Pub and bar operators are diversifying their offer in increasingly unusual ways to combat the effects of the recession, research has revealed.
In a poll of 60 members of industry body BII, 94% said they have tried out new ideas for their businesses in the last 12 months, with a further 6% planning to do so shortly.
Whilst many have added extensive food offers, accommodation, post office facilities, and hosting community groups to their repertoire, others provide more unusual offerings, including camping facilities, secure wetsuit and surfboard drying areas and foreign exchange services.
More than eight in ten (84%) have invested up to £5,000 in introducing new ideas, with 52% expecting a return on their investment within six months with a further 30% expecting dividends within a year
Neil Robertson, chief executive of the BII, said: "Yes, times are tough for some, but licensees with entrepreneurial flair who use their initiative and take a few calculated risks can reap the rewards. This industry is unique for budding entrepreneurs in the current climate; there is enormous scope for their talents."
The survey was conducted as part of the report, produced in conjunction with sector skills council People 1st.
The report also incorporated a People 1st survey of more than 300 licensed operators that identified several core skills as lacking in the industry - customer handling, technical, job specific, team working and problem-solving skills. The shortfall in people management and finance skills, in particular, seems to be hampering the industry. A third of survey respondents reported difficulties in recruiting bar managers. Whilst there is no shortage of applicants, many do not have all the required skills, attributes and experience, they said.
On a positive note, development opportunities for staff are increasing, with nearly three quarters (71%) of pubs, bars and nightclubs now providing or arranging training for their staff, compared to 64% in 2005.
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By Daniel Thomas
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