Tapping into the group occasion – driving revenue with sharing serves

Pub and bar operators must work harder than ever to attract customers through their doors. Luckily, there are many opportunities and ways to grab consumer attention, even when the odds may appear against your business. One such example is making more of group occasions such as birthday parties, graduations, anniversaries, and corporate events, which offer pubs and bars an opportunity to capitalize on the larger volumes of people in attendance, as well as the celebratory mood.

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A profitable way to maximise the group occasion is to offer sharing serves such as platters, appetizers, and desserts which give customers the opportunity to sample various dishes and drinks. Often, these are even seen as a special treat, which can encourage people to stay longer and order more items.  This not only elevates the overall dining experience but also helps to generate a high profit margin on each item.  Consider offering meat, vegetarian and vegan options to cater to different dietary preferences. 

Drinks packages are a great incentive which should form part of your menu. Offer a selection of beers, a mixture of wines, or a bottle of spirit with a range of mixers to accompany. These can be placed on the table in ice buckets for guests to help themselves to and will reduce the strain on service. With a larger number of consumers looking to reduce their alcohol intake, ensure any drinks packages accommodate those looking for a non-alcoholic option too.

For those looking for something more premium, consider offering special, themed sharing serves.  For example, operators could offer a sharable cake or ice cream sundae for a birthday party. These are also great opportunities to provide an extra special touch, such as a message on a dessert or a free welcome drink. These special offerings will help to create a memorable experience and encourage people to come back again.  Similarly, offering customers the opportunity to customise their own shared dishes can add an element of fun to the dining experience and encourage customers to purchase more.

Sharing serves and dishes also allowing customer to split the cost of the meal between them. This can result in higher profits for operators as customers are likely to spend more when they are splitting the cost.  Creating special promotions and discounts for group occasions by for example offering a special discount on a certain item or a certain amount off the total bill, will also help to incentivize people to come back, as well as encourage them to spend more while they are there.

Be mindful however that large groups of people can disrupt the flow of your waiting and kitchen team so consider offering a pre-ordering service. This will mean you are more prepared upon their arrival, with the kitchen aware of the dishes being ordered and having the resources across both people and ingredients to accommodate it. This will also help avoid disappointing any guests and ensuring they get their first choice.

So, when planning your spring and summer menus, don’t forget to think about group occasions and how you can capitalise on these as a way to drive sales in your pub and bar.

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