Schwartz September 2019

You Can Bank On It!

Bank holidays present an opportunity for operators to increase sales and pull in the profits – whatever the weather.

Easter and the two May bank holiday weekends are ideally located to give businesses a pre-summer boost – and offer a great opportunity to set your business up, ready for the coming months.

According to research, bank holiday weekends encourage more people to dine out and with 81% of caterers citing Easter as a key opportunity to attract new customers, these are key players in raising your revenue over the holidays.

Another pull into your business over the bank holiday is the weather. The high temperatures of last year’s heatwave Easter weekend helped push up sales in pubs and bars by 5.3%. To attract a high volume of customers – and encourage them to stay as long as possible – your outdoor space should offer something really special, and be in a good, clean condition, so you are able to offer an attractive drinking and dining alfresco experience. However, the unpredictable heat also saw restaurants take a 19.4% drop, so make sure you have a solution for whatever the unpredictable weather does. Plan all staff rotas well ahead of the holidays and advertise all your events and menus well in advance on your social media, website and in-house. Have an A-board outside to attract passing customers too.

Take Stock brings you some hints and tips to make your bank holidays the best yet…

Easter 10-13 April

The first major holiday of the year, it is the only weekend to be straddled by two bank holidays and falls during a school break. This family-orientated event can be really lucrative.

What to serve

  • Introduce premium dishes that will improve gross profit, such as more expensive cuts of meat.
  • Encourage families and friends to dine out by offering dishes that can be shared. Starters like antipasti and garlic bread or desserts such as pavlova or tarte tatin are great dishes that can easily be shared.
  • Make specific Easter dishes or create a special dedicated menu to highlight your occasion.
  • Make sure you include seasonal recipes on your special menu, for example, salmon and cod will be coming into season in time for Easter.
  • Use accompaniments to upsell the meal experience with extra seasonal vegetables or gravy, for example.
  • Create meal deals such as three-courses for a set price with a soft drink or glass of house wine. Encourage consumers to increase their spend by creating set meal deals such as offering two courses for a fixed price. This will prompt diners to sample what is on offer and potentially increase the probability of them ordering dessert.

Keep them entertained

  • Investing in play equipment and a bouncy castle will keep children entertained, making their families more likely to stay longer.
  • Invest in a gazebo in case your outdoor activities are threatened with rain!
  • Games like jenga and chess are an affordable option for indoor entertainment – and good if it does rain.
  • Live entertainment will help to attract crowds so why not invite local bands to take part in a battle of the bands or hold an outdoor karaoke competition?
  • Egg hunts are a must at Easter. If the weather forecast is looking bad, then move the hunt indoors if you can.

Bank Holiday 8 May 

The bank holiday falls on Friday for a full weekend of VE Day 75th celebrations. A great opportunity to boost sales, however big or small your participation.

What’s happening

  • A longer licence has been granted by the government! Pubs, clubs and bars with licences to trade until 11pm will be allowed to stay open until 1am on Friday 8 May and Saturday 9 May.
  • The British Beer and Pub Association and the organisers of VE Day 75 have published a guide for landlords hosting anniversary celebrations, including a toast at 3pm to mark 75 years since the exact moment Winston Churchill announced the end of World War II in Europe. Landlords, employees and punters are also encouraged to read out a ‘Cry for Peace Around the World’ at 7pm on 8 May. There’s more information at:

What to serve

  • Tweak your menu to be 1940s themed. Potatoes, root vegetables, bread and stodgy puddings were wartime staples, so why not use these for the weekend or make a few specials? Lord Woolton pie, corned beef hash and pork faggots with onion gravy and mash are some examples, followed by dripping cake or eggless fruit cake for dessert. Or, if you want a simpler option, why not have bread and dripping out on your bar or counter for customers to sample?
  • Stock up on 1940s soft drinks and sweets for children to buy.

Keep them entertained

  • Organise a 1940s family games afternoon. A cricket match, hopscotch, Double Dutch and Red Rover are just some examples. Draughts, cards and marbles are perfect to play indoors for those less energetic – and a safeguard if the weather turns bad.
  • Hold a 1940s nostalgic party complete with fancy dress, bunting and decorations. Why not hire a band to play the old classics or get in touch with the Military Vehicles Trust to bring along some of their restored vehicles. Or, for an extra quirky and appealing touch why not sell traditional hand-pumped beer at its original 5d a pint (five old pence) for an hour or two to really make the event memorable?

Spring Bank Holiday 25 May 

This bank holiday weekend allows for a full weekend of sales to continue into the week. Be mindful of the mixed customer base this holiday will attract.

What to serve

  • Keep your menu quick and tasty. Burgers, hot dogs, chips and pizza are perfect for children and adults alike.
  • 2FOR1 menu offers or early birds will accommodate families eating out of usual dining hours.
  • A BBQ is a great way to attract customers – but invest in a gazebo! Adapt the menu to make it transferable to the kitchen if needed.
  • This is a prime opportunity to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tweak your normal menu to include offers or have specific deals like a pint and a burger with chips for a special price.
  • Stock up on bar snacks.
  • Happy Hour and Cocktail Hour will bring in an earlier trade.

Keep them entertained

  • Screen the FA Cup final Saturday, 23 May – hold a party if it’s a local team competing. Beer buckets and ready-made pitchers are essential for this.
  • Book entertainment for the Sunday. A bouncy castle and live band will make it a family event, or a DJ or disco will attract adults only. Or, to keep costs down, arrange a karaoke night instead.

Prepare your outdoors

  • Offer blankets for guests to use to keep them warm as the sun goes down, and for when the temperature falls, consider investing in patio heaters.
  • Hanging fairy lights is an inexpensive, effective way to bring a little magic to your outdoor space. Other ideas include table lanterns, beanbags and quirky mismatched furniture – or even an alfresco burger shack or outside bar.


Feed Your Eyes

Sign up to receive an electronic version of Take Stock Magazine