Fewer than two in five pubs in the UK have a garden or outdoor area for customers to use, but Second City Leisure’s Andy Jones believes these spaces have never been so valuable to landlords.
Amusement equipment supplier Second City Leisure has been encouraging landlords to make the most of their outside spaces to increase revenue, particularly from jukeboxes.
Following the lockdowns, beer gardens were the first areas to be reopened to the public and it is estimated that even in a normal year a seat outside can be worth around £6,000 in additional revenue to a pub according to the Morning Advertiser. Andy Jones, director at West Midlands-based Second City, has discovered that with some tweaks, outdoor areas can become even more profitable to pubs and operators.
“Due to the pandemic and the government’s reactions to use of outside spaces we realised that there was scope to maintain cash box levels by putting up outside speakers connected to the digital jukeboxes,” he explained. “It soon became evident that this was actually increasing the take.”
Jones and his team have been encouraging landlords to smarten up their outside spaces and make them more inviting.
“This not only meant people sat outside longer but also increased the premises seating capacity and gave people the option to go to the pub safely without having to worry about the risk of catching Covid,” continued Jones. “The pubs that did this seemed to be the ones that had a quicker return to normality post the pandemic.”
He added that, by using the apps available with certain jukeboxes and by installing quality outdoor speakers, Second City saw a rise in revenue both directly and indirectly through pubgoers staying longer and spending more.
“I think that this is encouraging more people into the pubs and has bought people together; singing songs and chatting about music have been quite common in the pubs that we have done this with,” concluded Jones. “The 30 plus bracket seemed to have been the ones that have embraced it more. The 18-30 still like the apps, but tend to be inside the pubs.”