Tips to boost the success of your pub

posted on 10/03/2016 09:37:10 by James McAllister

Whether you’re just thinking of starting up for the first time, or if you’re already a pub landlord looking to boost your business’s fortunes, it can sometimes be hard to know where to start. If you’re experienced in the industry, then chances are, you’ve already got the basics covered – for instance, ensuring a high level of cleanliness, hiring the right staff, and having the perfect menu of drinks on offer.

But, if you’re looking to take it one step further and give your pub business a well-needed boost, read on for our top tips for bringing your pub success:

Visual merchandising

If you’ve never considered visual merchandising – both around the bar area and throughout your pub as a whole – then you may find it beneficial to do so. In short, visual merchandising is simply the process of clever product placement and optimising displays in order to maximise sales. It’s typically used in a shop or retail environment, but can be highly applicable to pubs, too. For instance, you may want to consider implementing any of the following simple merchandising options for your pub:

  •          Prominently display new/bestselling products
  •          Make use of flyers/posters on the bar or tables
  •          Place products that you want to push at eye height
  •          Remove clutter that may detract attention from products
  •          Know your ‘hotspots’ – for instance near the till, above urinals, cubicle doors, etc.

There’s a good chance that you’ll already have display units around your bar area – and potentially even throughout your whole pub – so be sure you’re making the most of them. 

Food service

There’s a chance that you may already serve food at your pub, but if not, you may want to start doing so – even it’s just simple food such as sandwiches and snacks to begin with. If you do already have food service in place, then you may want to think about how you could optimise it for success. Consider the following options:

  •          Change your menu – swap older items for more modern cuisine choices
  •          Menu redesign – sometimes just laying your menu out differently can make a difference
  •          Limit waste – don’t forget to consider portion sizes as well as ingredient use in the kitchen
  •          Encourage staff to upsell – even if only an extra side dish, it’s still increasing sales

Making a few simple tweaks to your menu, service style, or even the way you cook food in your pub can breathe a new lease of life into the way you serve food, and boost the number of sales made as a result.


If you are not already hosting events at your pub, then you may want to begin experimenting with them. An event can be anything from a simple games night, to a themed fancy dress night, complete with food and music. If you’re struggling with ideas for pub events, have a look at the following list:

  •          Sports nights – put together your own pool or darts team, or sponsor a local team
  •          Quiz nights – you can often find inexpensive pub quizzes to buy
  •          Open mic nights / live music / DJs / comedy nights
  •          Societies or clubs – allow university societies or local group to hold meetings and socials in your pub
  •          Speed dating / singles nights
  •          Fancy dress nights – here are some suggestions: discos, 80s, toga, pyjamas, gangster, superheros and villains, Disney characters, Egyptian, medieval or military – the list goes on!

Some events you will be able to host weekly or fortnightly, and others may be better suited to once a year – your best bet is to experiment with a few different ones, and see which bring the best results. 

Online presence 

Making sure that your pub has a strong online presence can bring in a range of benefits, as it will help you to spread awareness of your pub in the local area (as well as any events you may be hosting), and give you the opportunity to build an audience of relevant people.

Even if you don’t want to create and manage a fully fledged website, you should at least still make sure that your pub has a couple of social media accounts that you regularly update. This gives you the change to let existing fans know about the latest goings on in your pub, as well as expand your audience to people that may not have otherwise come into contact with your business.

Typically, Facebook is a good platform for pubs to have a presence on, as it allows you to easily share photos and information about your pub, as well as working in conjunction with a number of app – for example ‘checking in’ apps like Foursquare – as well as providing you with the opportunity to specifically advertise special events.


As you can see, there are a number of options for you to explore when it comes to giving your pub a boost, and increasing success. Above are just a few simple suggestions, but chances are, they’re a good place for you to start. It’s important for a newly opened pub to build and keep momentum, and the above tips may help you to do just that. For already established watering holes, it’s sometimes the case that you need a bit of a boost to increase trade if it has worn thin, and expose your pub to a new wave of potential punters. 

James McAllister

James is an online content creator at Make It Cheaper. Having previously created a variety of content for a number of websites and media outlets, James focuses on making it easy for SME owners to find interesting and engaging content - as well as useful guides and online tools.You can email James at

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