There is little doubt that pubs across the country have been suffering over the past few years.
Although some experts have suggested that this year might bring with it some respite, there is still likely to be little cheer for publicans. A small reduction in duty on beer will not bring a sea change in the fortunes of pubs, so where does that leave one of the great traditions of British life?
The pub trade is a unique band of brothers, who ultimately face similar trials and tribulations. It is vital that they don't simply try to ride it out, but instead look to each other and share experiences.
For those pubs that are suffering, there are solutions. There are opportunities to gain a greater understanding of their consumers in order to re-engineer a menu that will deliver greater uptake, or to make a more proactive use of promotions to capture a greater share of market.
Greater profitability is about making those small changes that will positively impact the bottom line. We are convinced that those who survive to the end of these austere times will find they have stronger businesses, fighting fit for the future.
James Armitage, independent marketing director, Brakes