Re-establishing human connections in the Pub Garden
Pub gardens are back open! So now is the perfect opportunity for FMCG and alcohol brands to consider creating an alfresco experience alongside the opening of the gardens.
Beer gardens are playing a pivotal role in helping the hospitality industry get back on its feet after having their doors closed for over a year. Reopened on April 12, they are letting punters re-establish face-to-face connections in a social context – something they’ve been living without over the last 13 months!
Trade marketing is going to take on an increasingly critical role going forwards, particularly for brands looking to reconnect with their customers. And alcohol or FMCG companies like yours will likely have many post-COVID branding priorities, such as driving awareness or simply re-engaging with consumers after a predominantly virtual period.
With the easing of restrictions, we believe that now is the time to strike. With the overwhelmingly positive feeling in pub gardens across the UK this summer, consumers will be more willing than ever to spend. Furthermore, many pub owners are transforming their premises into destination locations, turning their gardens into even more attractive propositions for punters.
Getting your strategy right as an FMCG or alcohol brand, however, will still require careful planning. Customers will want to spend big, given how long it has been since they were able to enjoy the simple pleasure of the pub garden. But there are still hurdles that could trip you up, if you aren’t careful.
The first issue has to do with the difficulty of making sales. Currently, punters aren’t allowed indoors so consumers can’t get up and go to a kiosk or vending machine inside the pub itself.
Furthermore, government guidelines demand that any outdoor structures must be at least 50 percent open to the air. So if you are setting up a separate branded stall, it needs to conform to the latest requirements.
Government legislation also demands table service for ordering, consumption and payment until social distancing liberalisation measures come into force in May and June. This restriction means that FMCG brands will need to field staff to sell goods to seated customers.
While these restrictions are logistically inconvenient for businesses, customers may appreciate some of them, particularly table service. Thus, fielding polite staff to wait on customers while they enjoy their newfound freedom could lead to higher sales and fatter markups.
FMCG brands also need to bear health and safety in mind. While the easing of COVID-19 restrictions is a welcome development for the industry as a whole, it is also a risky one. Both staff and punters could become unwell if they do not follow social distancing measures.
Currently, rules state that only two households up to a maximum of six people (from multiple households) OR two households (which can exceed 6). Businesses operating premises must also collect customer details and use QR codes to keep track of who is visiting. In addition, the two-metre social distancing policy between groups – or one metre with mitigation – remains in force. The government states that businesses have a legal responsibility to protect all people onsite, including their employees. Fines or venue closure could apply if they don’t.
FMCG brands, therefore, should consider the flow of consumers through the pub and how their activities will impact this. Markings on the floor as well as identifying potential bottlenecks may help here. FMCG brands should also think about how they can integrate service provision with the pub provider. Having floating reps providing table service is a simple way to slot service delivery into the existing setup compliantly.
As for taking payments, you may want to invest in creating branded POS and other assets to delineate between your brand and that of the pub. You may also wish to experiment with product sampling as a way to increase brand engagement as people get into the swing of the pub garden experience. If you’re able to create a branded area in the garden, branded cups or simple POS on the table this will be a great way to draw attention.
Lastly, be mindful of the weather – this is England after all! Ideally, you should create sheltered areas that comply with official guidance. You can also install portable infrared heaters if the temperature drops in the evening – a risk year-round.
Now that pub gardens are opening up again, FMCG and alcohol brands have a massive opportunity to sell. After having lived more than a year without the pub garden experience, many punters will be keen to get back into the swing of it and indulge themselves. Smart FMCG brands will capitalise on this opportunity by catering to customers’ newfound freedom and willingness to spend.
Are you planning your marketing activity for the Spring/Summer and wondering whether you should be leveraging the great British pub garden? Call Purity on +44 (0)1296 682 555 or visit our contact page and we can discuss your plans.