The Biggest Pub Trends In 2020

20th December 2019

It’s the start of a new year and also decade for the pub industry, so with that in mind, we’ve spoken to our team of Area Business Managers here at Thwaites to find out what they think could be the big topics to focus on in 2020. From extra attention on your team and championing individuals, to developing knowledge of your pub’s local area, it’s set to be another busy year.


A People-First Agenda

Your team and its members are your greatest assets for increasing sales, providing a welcoming ambience, and championing your pub. Create a thriving work environment that puts your team members at the forefront, encourages their development, and ultimately retains their skills.
Schedule regular evaluations with your team to consider opportunities for growth, understand where gaps are appearing, and where investment could be considered. Communication is essential, so regularly talking with your team will bring everyone together and align your values and objectives. You’ll see the benefits through engagement with customers, growth in expertise, and general interest in learning about your pub’s processes.


Experience Is Everything

Increasingly, customers are looking for memorable experiences and there’s always a reason why a customer chooses a certain pub. Think about expanding your offering with;
• A theme or event that is special/unique to your pub
• A games space that provides something different from standard pub games
• Using your unique selling points – riverside location, secret beer garden, upstairs eating space
Think about getting people into your pub, and making them excited by their experience. Be realistic and hone in on your offering. Being the best in what you offer, and better than the competition, is always something to aim for.


Understand Your Location For More Focused Results

When considering a pub, researching the local area is extremely important, and is a skill that should be continued when your pub is up and running. Segmenting your local area to understand your customer base will you help you to focus your targeting strategies.
Start with understanding the type of pub you’re running, and then establish what your most common demographic is; income range and other social-economic factors will give you focused insights to help you market and adapt your offering better.

Social Media Staying Power

For pubs, responding to and interacting with customers while also creating a good quality mix of content are important areas of focus. In the current market, CGA data suggests 45% of consumers post photos or videos on social media daily, which clearly highlights its popularity.
Customers are looking for photo opportunities; a memorable drink, a well-presented meal or simply an enjoyable moment that can be captured instantly. A live music night can offer opportunities for shareable content. Your bar area can also be a big hitter, as it’s an image that can make an impact and let people tag with their location on any social platform.


Time To Be More Flexible

A pub business is versatile and requires regular updates. It’s a market that changes and adapts, so finding your values and understanding what works is essential. Don’t be afraid to try new things, just bear in mind to stick with it and persevere as it might not instantly take off. Investing time and effort could result in success.
There’s always an element of risk, but be sure to have solid foundations and established sales before you go ahead and think of ways to boost them. You need to monitor performance, think on your feet, and ditch what’s not working. A flexible business can offer the most success as you’ll have the most tailored offer for your customers.


The Increase In Veganism & Choice Of Low/No Alcohol Options

In the food world, a vegan diet is increasing in popularity with people choosing this lifestyle more and more. For a pub it’s important not to alienate this group of potential customers. Develop friendlier vegan choices and start with a small offering that’s easily maintained and integrates well with your menus.
For all pubs, it’s important to stock low and non-alcoholic drinks. It’s essential to think about the needs of your customers and having these options available will keep people in your pub.


Premiumisation Isn’t Going Anywhere

It’s another year, and premiumisation is still at the forefront for pubs. With customers willing to spend their money on the best experiences, getting your offer right has never been more important.
Premiumisation has been a focus in the last couple of years, and a pub’s outdoor area looks like the place to premiumise next. Areas to consider include:
• Firepits
• Pergolas
• Funky versatile seating
• Dens
Pub trends in 2020 are about offering something new, expanding your pub to a wider customer base, and making your business the best it can be. With the prolonged political uncertainty in the year ahead, strengthening your business has never been so important.
If you’re interested in running your own pub, take a look at our current vacancies and get in touch.