"When we took over the pub we had a large range of session lagers and beers along with extra-cold versions," says Roger Serjent, co-owner of the Taverners pub on the Isle of Wight. "We brought in a more balanced lager offer with session, mid and premium available. Punch Taverns [the pub's landlord] helped with this which meant our principal brewer changed from Scottish & Newcastle to InBev [now ABInbev] and it replaced and upgraded our cellar coolers and beer taps."
Serjent has increased his ales from two to three and added a scrumpy-style cider on hand pull. Bibendum was chosen to supply the Taverners with its wines, setting it apart from the other pubs on the island. Initially there were comments at the high prices of the wine - compared with the cheap plonk the previous tenant retailed - so a few "cheaper ones" were introduced, priced £9.95, while a £25 Château d'Archambean 2003 Bordeaux is the most expensive non-sparkling wine on the list. The unbranded spirits and alco-pops offered by the previous tenant also went and an espresso machine from Molinari, which supplies only the Taverners on the island, was introduced.
Beer prices remain an issue and Serjent has had to increase what he charges customers (by about 10%) because of an increase passed on by Punch. He comments: "The pub up the road and many others slashed their prices over the winter. We were about £1 more but people don't seem to mind as we always serve a very good pint. Our barmaid, Natasha, is very proud of the fact the cellar engineers say we have the cleanest lines and cellar they have seen."
High Street, Godshill, Isle of Wight PO38 3HZ
FIRST CHOICE COFFEE ON THE TAVERNERS
While the Stephan Langton is working on positioning itself as a coffee destination, Brecher says that although coffee is not the focal point at the Taverners or the Mulberry Tree, it's a great way to boost gross profit. For minimal investment, the returns are high. An investment of just £4,700 could get an operation up and running on a Victoria Arduino Leva machine, generating nearly seven times that amount in profit over the year - and with a lifespan of five years, the machine could be paid for 35 times over with the profit generated.
Brecher adds: "The Mulberry Tree and the Taverners are two very different sites. One offers a fine-dining experience and the other is a pub geared towards the local trade, but both have the opportunity to boost their gross profit with a quality coffee offer. By positioning the coffee machine front-of-house it will immediately alert the customer that you serve coffee and if your machine is a real show-stopper, such as our Victoria Arduino equipment, it will instil confidence in the customer. You need to get the customer in the right frame of mind for a coffee - if they see a creamy cappuccino going to another table, they are likely to want one - and it's crucial that your staff upsell and communicate that there is a full range of speciality coffees available."
The Taverners pub in Godshill on the Isle of Wight received a nice plug recently when it featured in the Guardian's Guide to Summer Pubs last month.
The guide describes the pub as serving "great local grub" and having "a glass of something decent to drink in its generous beer garden".
It's hard to tell the direct impact this publicity has, but soon after publication a number of revellers attending the Isle of Wight festival made bookings at the pub for lunch quoting the article, and the regulars at the Taverners have certainly noticed.
"Business has been good although it's hard to tell if it's due to the article. We have been pretty much full every night since it appeared," says Roger Serjent.
The pub's Taverners cask ale from Yates Brewery on the island has been a huge hit since its introduction in the spring and is one of the pub's best selling items. It is sold in gift packs and although Serjent expects sales to dip a little in the winter, at the moment all the tourists visiting can't resist trying it.
"I would like to try and do a deal with one of the local vineyards to have our own wine as well but it's finding the time that's the challenge," says Serjent.