According to data from Barclays, in research conducted last year, pubs aren’t as in decline as may have been suspected – boosted in part by the number of younger landlords entering the industry. This surge of young talent entering the industry is providing encouraging signs of growth for the pub sector with just under half of these businesses being established within the last three years.
The research, which looks at the number of Barclays’ business customers in the pubs and bars industry, finds that:
- 42% of pub businesses were established in the last three years, according to analysis by Barclays
- The number of pub owners aged 25 to 34 has risen by a quarter (25%) since 2012
- Over one in five (22%) pubs are solely owned by a female landlady
- Average pub turnover has increased by almost a quarter (23%) up from 2012
These revelations perhaps dispel the somewhat whimsical ideal of a genial old couple setting up shop in a quaint little pub, dispensing drinks and anecdotes to the local punters. It does however highlight the fact that pubs are businesses, and need to be treated as such – especially after they fared so poorly during the recession.
The secret for success seems to be an ability to change with the times and changing customer appetites. Adam Rowse, Head of Business Banking at Barclays said: “The rise in [pubs] catering with pub food for example has enabled diversification. The UK’s pub businesses are a key part of Britain’s culture and heritage in addition to a valuable contributor to the economy.”
With the rise in these gastro-pubs catering with pub food, these young landlords have been able to compete with coffee shops, and the casual restaurant sector as a whole. Should one require, it’s easy enough now to find a pub offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, and of a decent standard too – not just a soggy sandwich and a deflated bag of crisps! They’re also proving to be seen as good value for money, appealing to the older customers who tend to visit for breakfast and lunch.
These young pub landlords, with their ability to adapt and innovate, are also bringing their knowledge of modern technology to the industry. We’re not talking about microchips under the skin, but getting their pubs on social media and review sites such as Yelp and Zomato help to spread buzz and represent the pub itself, and now many pubs even have their own websites. An impressive online presence, quality photos, and engaging videos all serve to increase the reach of a pub’s clientele, furthering from the old fashioned image of a lumbering building that caters only for the immediate locals.
The majority of people now walk around with a smartphone on their person, and businesses are adapting to reach out though them. There has also been a rise in customer-focused technology such as orderalla, an app that lets you order in bars and pubs without the need to queue. Simply choose what you want, pay through the app, and the bar staff will bring over your chosen beverage.
Pubs are a traditional mainstay of life in the UK, even as they continue to change and adapt, and we’re optimistic about where the industry is heading. That’s why we provide funding to UK pubs and SMEs, so that they can take advantage of growth opportunities and be well positioned to handle any uncertainties that may lie ahead.