Pub Closure Rate Slows as Landlords Diversify

The Tumble Down Dick, Farnborough - ClosedPubs are diversifying to survive the economic downturn – that’s the message from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), which found that pub closures fell by 25% in the second half of 2009.

A BBPA survey found that pub closures dropped from 52 a week in the first half of 2009 to 39 a week in the second half. A total of 2,365 pubs closed last year.

BBPA spokesman Mark Hastings said that pubs have had to be flexible to survive.

“Although a lot of pubs are going out of business and some are performing badly, it is important to remember that many pubs have grown in the recession.”

“The secret of running a good pub is no different from the secret of running any consumer-facing business. It’s about being more flexible and adaptable and inventive in the way that you approach your business.”

“The pubs that tend to survive are the ones that go and find out what their customers want, and provide what they want, and often offer something a bit different.”

“For example, there are some pubs that offer coffee mornings for mums after the school run, afternoon drop-in sessions with Wi-Fi access for people who run their own businesses, music evenings, or beer and wine tastings. If you are in the right sort of location with passing traffic, the breakfast trade is an excellent opportunity.”

However, founder of consultancy Business Plan Services, Jane Khedair, said that businesses must weigh up the costs and benefits before diversifying their offer.

“The business must look at what it has in terms of its resources, whether its new offering is complementary to the core activity, and whether or not management actually has the skills to execute it. If it’s going to be eating into resources that effectively underpin the business’ core activity the business is going to suffer further.”

“If the core business is not working, it is better to spend some time, energy, effort and money fixing the core business and thinking how they can turn that around. If a business does diversify they should make sure it is something that their customers really want.”

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