Nothing captures the imagination of the British public quite like the World Cup. The month-long festival of football – inevitably bringing disappointment in England and delight for fans in other parts of the UK – never fails to create a sustained party atmosphere.
The potential for hospitality operators to capitalise is huge, especially those in the pub sector, and many will anticipate weeks of bumper sales. Here are our top tips for how to make the most of the opportunity after it all kicks off on June 14th.
Staff for Quick Service
Nobody enjoys long waits for service, but if you are showing the big games, attending to customers quickly is more important than ever. It can be integral to keeping the festive mood going. Fast service is extremely difficult if you are understaffed, so it’s crucial to forecast sales accurately and deploy enough staff to meet them without becoming overstretched. Even if you don’t typically offer table service it can be a good idea to task extra staff with serving drinks straight to tables, which will significantly reduce wait times at the bar.
Consider Kick Off Times
Unlike some past World Cups, which have meant late night or early morning viewing for British fans, this time round the timings fall very favourably. Most matches, including all three of England’s group stage games, kick off in the late afternoon or early evening – ideal for pubs. Evenings will no doubt be at the forefront of your attention, but the smart operator will identify other opportunities too. If your license permits it, opening early to show the France v Australia game (11:00 kick off) on the tournament’s first Saturday could be a shrewd move, as crowds are likely to stay put for the whole day’s action.
Know Your Audience
Coming as it does just once every four years, the World Cup is a special event, and brings with it an atypical audience. Research into customers at venues showing the last major international football event, Euro 2016, found that pub-goers in the 18-24 age bracket were 36% more likely to visit to watch international rather than domestic fixtures. Women composed 24% of the total clientele during these matches, an increase of a third on club games. Savvy operators will craft a balanced offer that appeals to these groups as well as a more traditional football-watching demographic.
It’s Not Just About England
Every operator showing the action is near-enough guaranteed three money-spinning days for each of England’s group games, and hopefully several knock-out fixtures beyond that, but the opportunities to maximise sales don’t end there. There are now over eight million foreign-born people in the UK, and depending on your location, matches involving the likes of Poland, Germany, and Australia may attract significant interest. And with more international players representing English clubs that ever before, games showcasing Premier League stars are likely to be well supported; you can be sure that Merseyside pubs will be packed out when Mohamed Salah’s Egypt are in action. It’s a great idea to think ahead to which fixtures will appeal to the population in your area and ensure you advertise heavily and staff appropriately for these.