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A Summer of Sport

The next few months are bursting with sport. The FA Cup final, the Football League Play-Off finals, Wimbledon and golf are all prime opportunities for operators to kick start their summer profits.

Get snacking
Sporting events drive sales of crisps and snacks. And as most of the events are taking place outside normal mealtimes, this is a prime opportunity to drive incremental sales. During FIFA 2014 branded shared crisps and snacks saw an +18% increase, according to Kantar. Everyone has a favourite flavour of crisp, so make sure you have all of the traditional tastes available. The same goes for nuts – ready salted and dry roasted are essential, as are quality pork scratchings. People also like to experiment, so offer something different. From Jalapeno Pepper flavoured crisps to Chilli peanuts there is a huge range out there so get in some whacky alternatives! Be sure to satisfy your gluten-free customers too. KP’s O’Donnells crisps are a premium snack that enables you to cover the gluten-free base in style.

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Something meatier
From olives to meat snacks, offering something more substantial on the snack menu will keep customers on your premises for longer. Snacking and on-the-go consumption is increasing, but there is also a desire for healthier options to choose from. New packaging on Crespo Les Olives du Marché Pitted Green Olives with Herbs and Garlic highlights the low calorie count and the salt reduction versus the standard pack. UK meat snacks are currently worth £111m and growth is being fuelled by a protein phenomenon and the trend for missing meals. Taste-led, high-protein snacks make the consumer feel fuller for longer and ticks the lower sugar content box too. Top Herd Jerky and Skinny Salami are available in packs of 8 x 70g and in various flavours, including Smokey BBQ Beef Jerky, Tangy Tomato Beef Jerky and Honey Mustard Pork Jerky.

Finger food
Some of the events hit mealtimes, and if customers are there to watch a game or match they don’t want fine dining but something quick and tasty that they can eat while they view. Burgers, hot dogs and chips are still firm favourites – just make sure you offer a variety of fillings and sauces. Pizza suits all ages – and can be shared or eaten alone. On your bigger pizzas, make everyone happy by offering half-and-half options. This will encourage customers who may not want to eat a full pizza to share.

Pimm’s o’clock
If ever there was a time to serve Pimm’s – it’s now. Watching Wimbledon without a jug of Pimm’s is like eating fish and chips without salt and vinegar – it’s just not tennis. Make sure you have pre-made pitchers of the drink so customers do not have to spend time at the bar and while they’re being served, miss Andy’s! The fruit cup mixed with lemonade, fruit and mint is still the favourite version but why not put a twist on tradition? Make a jug of Blackberry & Elderflower Pimm’s or for a cool, long summer – single serving drink – try Pimm’s No.1 with a hint of ginger and fresh mint.

Be on the ball
Last year the BBC dedicated a whole day of programming to Saturday’s FA Cup final, with coverage starting at 10am. This is a prime opportunity for pubs to cash in on the breakfast, lunch and dinner trade. Tweak your normal menu to include offers or have specific menus to support the game. The Castle pub in Clitheroe, Lancashire, doesn’t have a set menu but a constant offer on for food: two dine for under £10. And on a recent local derby, it sold burger and chips in a basket with a beer for £5. Make sure your kitchen and front of house is fully staffed during main eating times and crucial matches and games. If it’s a sunny day you’ll attract walk-ins who haven’t come to watch the sport but to have a drink and possibly a meal too, so you don’t want to be caught out.

Top bar management
Customers are coming to watch sport not miss it because they are forever queuing at the bar. Beer buckets and ready-made pitchers of cocktails are essential to keep things moving. Get staff to make them up before it gets busy, and re-stock when a lull hits. Not only do they save time at the bar, the customer remains happy and that means they’re likely to stay for another round once the game is finished – and return at a later date. Make sure you have enough
chilled bottled beer and cider available in the fridge, plus Prosecco, white wine and rosé.

The little ones
Children are just as eager to watch sport as their parents. So make sure you stock up on bottled soft drinks and fruit juices – and ice cream! Why not have a themed mocktail list for each sporting event? Smoothies, ice cream sodas or just ice cream by itself are big sellers so make sure you have a variety of flavours to offer.

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Key Dates
FA CUP FINAL
Saturday 21 May, 5.30pm
FOOTBALL LEAGUE
PLAY-OFF FINALS
Saturday 28 May, 5pm
Sunday 29 May, 3pm
Monday 30 May, 3pm
WIMBLEDON
27 June – 10 July
GOLF US OPEN
Thursday 16 June –
Sunday 19 June

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