We may have only just stepped into a new year, however, planning ahead for key events gives you the opportunity to drive uptake and sales in this fast-paced, competitive industry. Here, we focus on the coming months and overleaf we bring you future dates to help you get organised.
According to figures from Carlsberg UK’s Consumer Insight Report, more than half of UK families (64%) head to the pub for food on Mother’s Day, and with Easter hooked onto the school holidays, these are big players when it comes to profitable events. All three dates are key opportunities to attract new customers while still looking after your regulars, and because they all fall on a weekend, they are perfectly placed for boosting trade.
Mother’s Day and Easter are family orientated events, so from children to grandparents all appetites should be catered for. From a ‘special’ menu on Mother’s Day to an early-bird menu at Easter, now is the time to plan. 2FOR1 offers and meal deals will all bring in trade during quieter times, while sharing platters will bring in those customers who want a lighter or late-night dish. Traditional dishes like roast dinners, fish and chips and curry are customer pleasers, but make sure you offer a range of healthier options too, and don’t forget options for vegetarians, vegans and those following a gluten-free diet.
It goes without saying you’ll need to make sure you are stocked up on Guinness for St Patrick’s Day. But don’t forget to check you have plenty of options to serve with it, as not everyone likes it straight. Blackcurrant is the most popular but for anyone who wants to push the boat out, make sure you have some Champagne at the ready to make a Black Velvet! Stock up on bottled beer – for Easter beer buckets are perfect during busier times – and make sure you have a good selection of wine, sparkling wine, spirits and mixers. A cocktail made especially for ‘mother’ is a nice touch, and will make customers feel extra special.
With Mother’s Day and Easter being family occasions, they are likely to bring in larger parties including children, grandparents and non-drinking drivers. Everyone needs to be catered for, so asides from stocking a wide selection of premium soft drinks, why not offer mocktails? They’d work well for both occasions, and at Easter you could make chocolate-themed ones for the children.
Shout about it
Once Valentine’s Day is out of the way, it’s time to start advertising all three events. Highlight the menus – and offers – on your website, social media and in-house, and any extra events you are holding, like an egg hunt or fun-day. Brief staff to ask customers if they have thought about booking for Mother’s Day or made plans for Easter. That way, it will not only prompt the customer to book, it gives staff chance to point out the menu and activities. With St Patrick’s Day especially, make sure you order your POS material from your supplier in plenty of time as customers will expect a shamrock decorated bar!
We’ve picked out the best regional and national events so that you can plan well in advance – and don’t miss out!
17-19 Feb Festival of Food, Drink & Rhubarb, Wakefield experiencewakefield.co.uk
11-28 May Leeds Indie Food Festival Leedsindiefood.co.uk
27-28 May Malton Food Lovers Festival maltonyorkshire.co.uk/food-lovers-festival
27-29 May The Great British Food Festival, Harewood House, Leeds harewood.org/whats-on/event/great-british-food-festival
17-18 June Dales Festival of Food and Drink, Layburn dalesfestivaloffood.org
26-27 June Harrogate Fine Food Fair gff.co.uk/shows/harrogate
11-13 July The Great Yorkshire Show, Harrogate greatyorkshireshow.co.uk
16 July Otley Food & Drink Festival visitotley.co.uk/otley-food-and-drink-festival
22-23 July Yorkshire Dales Food & Drink Festival, Skipton yorkshiredalesfoodanddrinkfestival.com
27-29 May Great Food & Drink Festival, Nottingham Castle greatfoodanddrinkfestivals.co.uk/nottingham-castle
17-18 June The Big Bake, Markeaton Park greatfoodanddrinkfestivals.co.uk/markeaton-park
27 May Eaglesham Beer Festival eagleshambeerfest.uk
16-17 June North Hop Glasgow northhop.co.uk/festivals/glasgow
8-10 March London Drinker Beer & Cider Festival, Camden Centre northlondon.camra.org.uk
10-12 March Squires Kitchen’s Exhibition, Farnham, Surrey squires-exhibition.com
11-12 March Cressing Spring Food & Home Fair, Witham, Essex farminguk.com/agricultural-shows-and-events
14 March UK Bottled Water Industry Conference, Congress Centre, London zenithglobal.com/events
19-22 March The International Food & Drink Event, London ife.co.uk
31 Mar-1 Apr Whisky Live, The Honourable Artillery Company, London whiskylive.com/england
6-9 April London Coffee Festival londoncoffeefestival.com
7-8 May The Real Wine Fair, Tobacco Dock therealwinefair.com
26-28 May Essex Sausage & Cider Music Festival, Barleylands Farm, Billericay https://goo.gl/U3tsjc
24-25 June The Cheese and Chilli Festival, War Memorial Park, Basingstoke cheeseandchillifestival.com/basingstoke
24-25 June Colchester Food and Drink Festival foodanddrinkfestivalsuk.co.uk/events/
24-26 March Blackpool Beer & Cider Festival, Winter Gardens wintergardensblackpool.co.uk
15 April Easter Food Festival, Colne colnetowncouncil.org.uk/colne-food-festival-markets/
21-23 April The Great British Food Festival, Stonyhurst College, Clitheroe greatbritishfoodfestival.com/stonyhurst
30 Apr-1 May Lancaster Food & Drink Festival lfdf.co.uk
3 June Accrington Food & Drink Festival accringtonfoodfestival.co.uk
19 March Fabulous Places Spring Market, The Roundhouse, Derby derbyshirespringmarket.co.uk
29 Apr-1 May The Great British Food Festival, Hardwick Hall, Doe Lea greatbritishfoodfestival.com/hardwick-hall.asp
13-14 May Derbyshire Food & Drink Fair, Derby derbyshirefoodanddrinkfair.co.uk
18-20 May Rail Ale Festival, Chesterfield railalefestival.com
2-3 July Summer Market, The Roundhouse, Derby derbyshiresummermarket.co.uk