The pub is a noble and time-honoured tradition, yet for a variety of reasons (many tied to recent economic troubles), Australia is seeing more and more of its most well-established pubs go out of business.
The would-be pub owner of the future will have to navigate bureaucratic and economic troubles, but most important he will need to win over the local community—the bedrock of any pub's ultimate success.
Unlike in a bar, a pub's core customer base aren't the youngsters who just turn up in anonymous hordes on Friday and Saturday to down some shots and move on—it's the members of the local area. It's those who head down to meet with their friends, wind down after work, have a bite to eat, share the word around town, watch the rugby, play darts, and maintain connections.
Here are some tips as a newcomer to the industry, for getting them on your side.
Studies have shown that the more people are able to engage in positive, small-scale competition, the healthier and happier they are overall. Pub quizzes, pool tournaments, darts competitions and so on have always been a way for people to unwind and get their blood flowing when times might be tough in other areas of their lives.
You'd be wise to honour this ancient tavern tradition and keep the competitive fires burning bright—history shows that the crowd will turn up if you put the event on. A free drink tab for the night is always a good prize to get people enthusiastic.
Give the People Sport
Australia is as proud a sporting nation as ever existed, and the rest of the world knows it. Every time there's any kind of major tournament on—international or domestic—the fans who weren't able to make it down to the grounds or stadiums flood the land looking for pubs which might be showing the game.
Setting up a decent audio-visual system and screening all of the major sports tournaments—not to mention advertising the fact with a big sign out front—is a sure-fire way to put your pub on the spot in a hurry. The idea goes, hopefully, that they'll come for the match and stay for the atmosphere.
Do Some Good
Any tight-knit community will have its struggling people and its institutions who try and help them. Get involved with local charity work and community causes. Organising a raffle, a fun-run, or a karaoke night where the proceeds will go to the local hospice or veteran's fund will not only get you involved in the community, but will also do some real good for those in need.
Make Sure the Food is Good
Since a pub is part alcohol, part atmosphere, part food, you want to be sure that you don't drop the ball in any one of those areas. Keep a good number of popular beers on tap, have the place clean and cosy, and you'll have met the basic requirements for the first two points.
In order to get three out of three, you need to keep a steady supply of essential snacks at hand—chips, burgers, etc.—while also having at least one special signature item on the menu. If you have an unrivalled family recipe up your sleeve, now is the time to bring it out. If not, then consider taking a lesson from the British and bringing back the Sunday Roast. Studies show, after all, that people bond over food.
Hopefully these tips can help you find and keep your customers. Consider talking to resources such as John Parsons Hotels to learn more about finding property to buy, or how to better market your services.