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World Cup fever scores heavily for SFI Group

Football fever gave a big boost to pub group SFI’s turnover during the first stage of the World Cup.

The group, which operates 186 pubs under the Litten Tree, Slug & Lettuce and Bar Med names, said that it generated almost £750,000 in extra sales during week one, on top of average weekly sales. The corporate hiring of pubs for matches was a key contributor.

Food represented 15-20% of the extra money, thanks to extra take-away sales to local offices and the provision of breakfasts and “early morning things in buns” during early matches, said chief executive Andrew Latham.

“Both the [Queen’s] Jubilee and the World Cup have created a general euphoria, which has been good news for us,” he added.

SFI spent six months planning for the event and linked up with Capital Radio and Budweiser beer for a programme that included live broadcasts from SFI pubs, free beers, radio football forums and the chance to win nine pairs of tickets for World Cup matches in Japan.

And it appears the football did not siphon off customers from SFI’s five-strong chain of lap-dancing bars, For Your Eyes Only. The chain’s managing director, Edward Lavelle, said there was no significant effect on business that week and that the decision to open its Mayfair branch on the Friday afternoon after the England v Argentina match had attracted extra customers and increased takings at the bar.

by Angela Frewin

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