With demand for pubs likely to be high when the second lockdown is set to finish in the run-up to Christmas, beer company Heineken has offered insights to help operators maximise sales in the last month of 2020.
Last year six of the top 10 trading days for wet sales were in December, and the first weekend of December 2019 saw sales higher than the previous three years. 'Mad Friday' (the Friday before Christmas Day) had the biggest single day sales in 2019.
Heineken says that operators should use lockdown to advertise their festive offers via social channels. Heineken's insights suggest that over half of consumers who tried new drinks last Christmas were influenced to do so because of promotions and advertisements
Table arrangements can be re-organised in line with the latest guidelines to maximise capacity and revenue, and extra revenue can be gained through dynamic pricing strategies, such as splitting Sunday-Wednesday and Thursday-Saturday, or incentives for off-peak bookings to fill quieter periods.
When they return customers will be looking for reassurances around safety and hygiene, so contactless payment, table service, pre-ordering and pre-booking systems are essential. Heineken's findings show that a fifth of consumers are more likely to pre-book for festive occasions this year than last, and 13% would pay more for a pre-ordered meal over the Christmas period.
Consumers are willing to pay more and try new drinks at Christmas too: 40% expect a wider range of drinks and 32% are more likely to pay for better quality. Spirits prove popular over the weekend, while continental premium and premium 4% lagers enjoy an increase in sales during the festive season., as well as no- and low-alcohol options.
And finally, Heineken suggests taking advantage of your pub garden or outdoor space to create your own Christmas market, with heaters and fairy lights.