premier-mcdougal 5/2/20

A Cracking Celebration

The first major holiday of the year, Easter offers the opportunity to increase sales and drive profits. According to the Greene King Leisure Tracker report, Brits spent the equivalent of £87 per person on eating out in April 2015 – and Easter was the main driving force.

The only weekend to be straddled by two bank holidays and falling at the start of a school break, the family-orientated event can be really lucrative. Take Stock spoke to Vanessa Gray, owner of the free house village pub The Cock at Roade, the Roade House Hotel, Grays deli and coffee shop, and The Old Crown in Ashton, Northamptonshire, about how to drive Easter trade.

Know your customers
We are very interactive with our villagers. Thankfully, it’s a sociable village but we make Easter a fun, family-orientated weekend event and that draws them in. From music to Easter egg hunts we work very hard to make sure we give our customers exactly what they want. And because it’s happening right on their doorstep, our customers remain loyal and stay put.

We never create a whole new menu – a good old roast with all the trimmings is still the firm favourite for Easter Sunday in both pubs, and we always make our desserts Easter themed. We serve mini-roasts for the children and those witha little appetite, and bizarrely, although beef and lamb are plate pleasers, people want turkey too – it goes down so well! We put mini eggs into our desserts – Eton Mess topped with them is always a good seller.

Soft drinks
As well as low-sugar fruit juices, we’ll be serving fancy milkshakes to make the selections a bit more fun and special!
Stacked with crushed ice, we’ll be filling them with milk and chocolate – we may even blend in some mini eggs!

Adult soft drinks
Our coffee shop serves fruit and herbal teas, plus popular flavoured coffee like gingerbread and hazelnut. So, for Easter, we’ll be taking inspiration from the coffee shop and serving our coffee of the week in the pubs: caramel waffle coffee. A firm favourite, you place the waffle on top of the cup and the steam from the coffee melts the caramel to make it go all gooey. Delicious!

As usual we’ll be serving lots of wine, especially Prosecco – the world has gone mad for Prosecco! Our craft ales are very popular and we also have a variety of speciality beers. One that is selling very well is TEA by Hogs Back Brewery – and the men don’t feel as guilty ordering TEA at the bar!

At The Cock we have a massive beer garden with a play area so the minute school breaks up I advertise a tea of chicken nuggets, chips and beans to kick start the Easter break – and let parents relax while their children play outside. We have a band on, Easter egg hunts, bouncy castle, colouring and bonnet-making to name a few of the activities!

Hotel deals
We always push deals for the hotel. It’s a prime opportunity to get guests to stay three nights, if not seven! Afternoon teas are back on-trend again and we charge £25 a head for two. As well as our normal afternoon tea, we’ll be serving a chocolate-based one for the event. From white chocolate truffles, to chocolate cake and hot chocolate it will be really, really sickly but I’m sure the hard-core chocoholics among us will love it!

Easter Menu

Garlic & Tomato Bread serve with Italian Soave, Chianti or Berliner Weisse Beer

Lamb Kebabs serve with Médoc or Abbey/Trappist Ale


Roast Turkey serve with Unoaked Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Côtes du Rhône or Berliner Weisse Beer

Lamb Shoulder Hotpot serve with White Rioja, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot Blends or Vintage ale


Doughnuts with Custard or Eton Mess with Mini Eggs served with Moscato d’Asti, Sweet Cider or Fruit Juice

Sweet treats:
Easter equals chocolate. And because the holidays mean family time, it’s the perfect opportunity to increase sales and benefit from the high demand for your dessert offering. The purchase of cakes in the UK is highest among parents according to Mintel, and Almondy’s own out-of-home research reveals that customers are 22% more likely to eat sweet treats when dining with children. Head pastry chef Ellen de Jager from Jersey’s Michelin-starred restaurant Bohemia shares her three egg-citing treats that are quick, easy and an alternative to the usual Easter ones…

For the kids:
Rocky Road
Total time: 3 hours 15 minutes
An easy and delicious recipe that kids love, but with an Easter twist. Mix melted chocolate with mini marshmallows, digestive biscuits, dried fruit and mini chocolate eggs. Leave to set for 3 hours, then dust with icing sugar.

For adults:
Chocolate Croissants
Total time: 35 minutes
Perfect for a mid-morning snack this is great for the adult chocoholics! Make or buy readymade croissant dough
and stuff with cream or caramel eggs.

For the healthy ones:
Chocolate Bananas
Total time: 40 minutes
Some customers want to indulge at Easter but still keep it slightly healthy – so these are the perfect choice. Cover
a sliced banana in melted chocolate then put in the fridge to set.

Click here for the recipe Dunking Doughnuts with Chocolate Custard

Feed Your Eyes

Sign up to receive an electronic version of Take Stock Magazine