Top tips for balmy bank holiday sales from Heineken UK

Heineken Greenpaper Jerry Shedden

With the bank holiday weekend on the horizon, Heineken UK has predicted a big boost to UK on-trade sales. This prediction is based on Heineken’s largest piece of category research ever conducted which launched last month – called The Greenpaper – a new category initiative made up of six growth drivers predicted to boost the UK on-trade by over £1 billion by 2021.

The Greenpaper research reveals that over bank holiday weekends, the average pub or bar sees an increase in sales of 15% and with competition for people’s leisure time increasing, it is now more important than ever for licensees to give people further incentive to visit their outlets.

“Let’s Get Together” and “Great With Food” are two of the six growth drivers that Heineken has identified, offering advice on how these can grow their cider and beer business over key seasonal periods.

With just a few simple fixes, on-trade outlets can reap the rewards of a three-day weekend and increased warmer weather footfall. Here are their four “Top Tips for Balmy Bank Holiday Sales”:

  • Expect a crowd – With extra business expected, it is important to avoid any long queues or overcrowding issues. Ensure you have extra staff and additional seating available, perhaps even considering table service to avoid congestion at the bar.
  • Larger serves for larger groups – Bank holiday weekends and other busy periods cause increased congestion at the bar, to avoid this think about different drink formats such as jugs and pitchers of beer to decrease the number of visits to the till without losing on sales.
  • Get the first drink right – A third of customers look at drink menus online before they visit a pub so make sure your offering is engagingly displayed on your website. Once in the pub, make sure customers are given time to choose the drink they’d like, encourage your staff to engage and recommend certain drinks. Lastly ensure the quality, delivery and timing of the first drink is right.83% of customers who have a second drink will have the same again, so the first drink choice is vital.
  • Bank holiday joy – With an extra day’s holiday punters are likely to be in high spirits, so brief your staff to encourage customers to trade up to a more premium beer or cider.

Jerry Shedden (pictured), category and trade marketing director at Heineken, said: “Bank holiday weekends are some of the busiest occasions in the UK on-trade calendar as consumers looks to spend quality time with friends and family. For outlets, these weekends are all about giving more people a reason to visit their local pubs, bars and restaurants – meaning more people through your doors, spending more money, more often. So the May bank holidays aren’t just an ordinary weekend trading opportunity. If maximised properly they can provide a welcome early summer spike in sales before the sun really (hopefully) shines.”

The two growth drivers in which Heineken can work with customers to grow their businesses and generate incremental value in the marketplace over bank holidays are summarised as follows:

Let’s Get Together – incremental value £249 million

Licensees should be captalising on existing calendar events and creating new occasions throughout the year to drive increased footfall and maximise sales.

There is more competition than ever for consumers’ hard-earned cash, so the number of visits to the on-trade has fallen by 10% over the past five years. There has never been a more important time to shout about your outlet and entice new and existing customers in to your businesses.

Sunshine in the garden – Currently, 53% of customers would visit a pub more often if it had a good garden. So, if the sun is shining, think about your pub/bar garden and the food and drink associated with it to maximise your offering. Extra staff, table service or a temporary outside bar will also help drive more sales and a barbecue could top things off by encouraging dwell time and spend. Cider also sees an uplift of 10% during the warmer months so consider flexing your draught cider options or increasing space to premium and flavoured ciders in the fridge. Summer cocktails, Pimm’s and sharing serves play a massive role when the sun out too, so consider offers on these brands for larger groups and couples.

In the evening, organised events over the bank holiday will make it an extra special occasion out of the home. 37% of people would visit the pub if there were more live events like music or comedy, 30% for social events like quizzes or darts, and 22% would consider going to the pub if stayed open later, with the bank holiday offering the perfect reason to do this.

Great With Food – incremental value £189 million

Food is a simple but effective method of enticing consumers into the on-trade, so licensees should maximise their consumer spend by pairing food with their range of ciders and beers, to drive more money through the tills.

Food is present at a third of all drinking occasions and this is on the rise. By marketing your drink and food offerings together, this can deliver more value to the consumer whilst driving increased footfall, repeat business and revenue for your business.

Our research shows there are two ways to drive drinks sales with food:

Food pairing with pints – Suggesting what beer or cider works well with certain dishes on your menu can provide an extra special touch for customers, who are more likely to enjoy it and pay more when trading up.

Price promotions – Don’t forget about price promotions and offers: a burger and pint is a simple way to ensure your customers feel they are getting better value as they spend more money at the bar.

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