Tips for Success
Think outside the box when it comes to boosting business. The Beckford Inn in the Cotswolds has done just that by tying in with the area’s British Asparagus Festival.
Located on the edge of the Vale of Evesham, which is famous for its English asparagus and home of the British Asparagus Festival, the Beckford Inn has cleverly made the most of this fabulous vegetable and local event. As owner Jane Mears explains: “we have run an Asparagus Festival at The Beckford Inn from the first year we took over in 2010. It is such an amazing vegetable and, being situated in the heart of this beautiful area where it is so famous, it was the most natural thing to promote!”
Jane’s team create a bespoke ‘asparagus’ menu for the festival which changes a few times throughout the two month festival. Dishes include grilled local asparagus topped with a poached egg and served with a citrus hollandaise sauce for starters and fillet medallions served with a creamy blue cheese sauce topped with asparagus and served with roasted new potatoes for mains.
The pub promotes the festival on their website and by newsletter to their 700 strong database. They also have a large ‘A’ board on the A46 and have posters and leaflets throughout the Inn. The asparagus menu is also given to every diner. In addition the pub cleverly works with local tourism agencies including the AA, Les Routier and the local Tourist boards to promote their festival.
The business benefits of the festival are twofold: it not only adds to the bottom line by attracting more customers but it also does wonders from a PR point of view. As Jane notes: “customers love to see us supporting local producers. The Evesham asparagus season is very special for the whole of the area…it adds to our reputation.”
A considerable number of people order from the asparagus menu and this year Jane has invested in a new till system which will be able to track exactly how many people eat from the special menu and which dishes are most popular.