Pubs as the new (old) Community Hubs
A thought piece by Director, Lee Birchall: With over 30 years working in the hospitality industry, we can see first-hand how rising costs are affecting pubs, hotels, restaurants, bars and leisure properties. It’s not going to be an easy ride, and fingers crossed some positive respite will be announced shortly. This impact has been noticed within some of our recent and future hospitality projects. Our clients are looking for solutions to keep fresh and innovative in what is an exceptionally crowded market, as well as searching for the most effective way to use their CAPEX budgets to ensure differentiation and stand out appeal. Additionally, we always need to be mindful and ahead of the curve in what audience we are looking to attract, what are their expectations in today’s ever changing landscape...
DV8 Designs have a long and trusted relationship with large hospitality, hotel and pub operators, and have recently been appointed as lead designer for the UK for the Greene King company, to help bring to life the vision for HIVE, their new franchise pub concept across the UK.
Greene King have recognised with this new HIVE brand, that being at the heart of the community with local personalities running the pub will help in the regeneration of regions throughout the UK, by creating venues that are a hub of social activity for the local community, and will ultimately deliver the best, local experience.
Their philosophy is all about embracing that community and local element – they want their pubs to be at the forefront of that, with ‘home-cooked’ food ‘warmth’ and ‘roasting fires’ – a place where their customers can feel welcomed and less isolated. Something that’s been missing with the influx of gastro pubs over the years.
Within our design work with HIVE, we concentrate on the brand, at the same time creating a sense of connection between landlords and the local community. It’s hugely important that we don’t alienate people at the same time, so it’s a careful process with rigorous research behind it.
Even with the economic crisis we are facing, we’ve found that many of our clients are investing into their properties. They know that with upcoming high-profile events such as the World Cup in November, that now is the perfect time to maximise on this opportunity in attracting new audiences in the build up to major sporting events, whilst driving interest into Christmas, bolstering that tricky period between January and March.
My advice to any venue, is to concentrate on these five pillars:
Location (which is a given) – concentrate on your locale, what makes you important to the local community and heighten key elements
Point of Difference – understand your audience now and of the future; create your point of difference and align your offer to deliver this consistently. This is hugely important – everything else is much easier once you’ve cracked what you’re offering. Then stick to it.
Service – this is going to be a key differentiator – make sure that your service delivers the brand ethos, and reassurance of safety. Operators should be investing in their team, with customer service training, upskilling and upselling training. You want the right people in the business, with the right level of motivation and attitude.
Marketing – some people cut this budget where you should absolutely invest in it! How else will people know you’re there for them?
Interiors – this is where we bring all of the above into fruition. A great opportunity to showcase what makes you special, what makes you different, and what makes you fresh and forward thinking; guarantee the crowds with a brand new look and feel.