Pubs chase the mums market
16 July, 2012
Pubs are making a big move for the parents market by becoming more child friendly, says an interesting piece in the Financial Times.
It cites examples like the Capital Pub Company’s Victoria Inn in Peckham (pictured), which “on a recent Wednesday… resembled the local crèche rather than a hub of mid-afternoon drinking,” and where mothers with babies now account for around a third of daytime sales. The Victoria is part of a network of pubs called Mum’s the Word which offers discounts on food, while the National Childbirth Trust says about 80 London pubs have now signed up to a scheme that welcomes breastfeeding in public.
Chain operators seem to be getting in on the action too. J D Wetherspoon says about a dozen of its pubs now run weekly parent and toddler sessions, and tea and coffee combined are now its biggest selling drink. Mitchells & Butlers has meanwhile partnered with Mumsnet to make its Harvester pub-restaurants more welcoming to families.
The FT thinks the move by pubs will hit mid-market cafes or chains in particular, because the mums-and-babies sector has previously been dominated by independents or chains like Carluccio’s, Café Rouge and Giraffe. And research by BDRC Continental suggests the two sectors are pulling level, with casual dining restaurant chains scoring an average of 7.7 when family customers are asked how well they were looked after on recent visits, compared to a score of 7.6 for pubs. Research director Max Clapham said: “Even just a few years ago we would have expected pubs to perform much worse on this metric as most paid little more than lip service to being child friendly. Attracting mums into a positive pub environment for these types of occasion can have wider benefits to pub operators if it can encourage them to eat and drink at other times, perhaps for more adult-only occasions as well.”
For the full story, see Britain’s pubs swap pints for prams.