What makes a great pub? Most people will agree that excellent food and a good selection of drinks are a necessity. But there is also something else that can be harder to pin down: a pub’s atmosphere. And yet a good atmosphere is critical to a pub’s success. Not only can it determine whether a customer enjoys visiting your pub but, more critically, it can predict how likely they are to want to return.
Friendly Staff and Great Service
Friendly staff and good service are essential to the atmosphere of a great pub. It is the people behind the bar that create a lot of the atmosphere in an enjoyable establishment. After all, friendly staff with a good sense of humour will help to make you feel welcome. But bar service also needs to be good – nobody enjoys waiting in a queue for ten minutes every time they want to order a drink. Well-trained staff, sufficient bar tills and adequate bar equipment will all help to keep wait times down and customer satisfaction up.
The design of your pub will no doubt contribute to atmosphere. Whether your pub is rustic or modern, this will have an effect on the type of clientele you hope to attract. Even more important than design is the level of comfort for your customers. Plenty of seats and tables are important for people to enjoy a drink in comfortable surroundings – remember not everyone enjoys propping themselves up at the bar. Likewise with lighting – bright, stark lighting will chase people away, not attract them in. Low lighting, table lamps or candles are always appreciated.
Providing customers with something more to do than drink helps to create a fun atmosphere. Regulars may enjoy quiz evenings, darts and even a game of pool. Customers also appreciate music, as long as it’s not too loud. Loud music is fine if you are running a bar or club, but a pub requires something different. Pub-goers like some music in the background, with pub jukeboxes remaining popular, but they go to a pub to chat to their mates so if they have to shout over loud music and leave the pub deaf and hoarse, they may well think twice about returning again with friends.
Beer gardens remain extremely popular in the UK, especially during the summer months. An attractive, comfortable beer garden will not only attract new visitors to your pub but will keep them coming back. An ugly outside area will not. Embrace the outdoor garden atmosphere, using garden furniture, materials and plants to create an exciting alfresco experience. If you have the space, divide smokers from non-smokers. Include ashtrays on tables and a few sand buckets for cigarette ends. Also, remember to consider the weather – windbreakers, a durable shelter from the rain, and outside heaters are also a necessity in a country where weather remains so unpredictable.
If your pub is dirty, messy or disorganised, you are going to struggle to create a great atmosphere. Nobody enjoys a sticky bar, dirty places or drinking from glasses with lipstick marks. Remember, whilst nobody comments on how clean a pub is, they will always remember how dirty it was and will be unlikely to return. Make cleanliness of your bar and its equipment a priority. Ensure that janitorial accessories such as cloths and buckets are in good supply and behind the bar. Beer mats, drink trays and other bar accessories should be available to prevent any mess or spillage.
Maintaining the right temperature in your pub is another key factor to its atmosphere. If visitors are too hot or too cold, they are unlikely to want to come back. In the winter months, pubs with open roaring fires are always extremely popular, adding atmosphere as well as warmth. In the summer months – especially when temperatures rise – air conditioning is a must. A good air-conditioning system is useful all year round, as it will ensure that the right temperature and air quality in the pub is maintained. In addition, it will also help to level out any hotspots in the pub – especially near kitchen and serving counters – and will help to control odours and unpleasant smells.
These tips can help you create the perfect atmosphere. Remember, a comfortable, happy visitor will become a returning customer.