Drink Industry Trends 2018: Time To Plan Ahead

It’s a good time to plan ahead as the drink industry trends for 2018 start to take shape in the run-up to Christmas, so what will customers be looking for over the next 12 months?

The Waitrose Food & Drink Report is one of the main areas of insight, and this predicts some important regional differences, as Scotland sees an increasing focus on locally brewed beverages while Wales has a growing thirst for detailed knowledge about wine.

Different drinks categories are also blurring the boundaries, with ale casks used by Glenfiddich to add a hint of hops to their whisky, and if this continues throughout 2018, the next big trend in fusion food could actually be drinks.

Repeat custom is crucial

If you’re still looking to capitalise on festive trade, industry analysts CGA recently put out a trend report that should be on your reading list in the run-up to Christmas.

This predicted that, like in 2016, the coming holiday period will see fewer people go out to eat and drink; but those who do go out will do so more often and spend more.

Repeat custom is crucial in this climate, so make sure your premises are a fully fledged entertainment destination complete with gaming machines, pool tables and juke boxes to keep customers interested.

Premium picks

Looking long-term, CGA have also found a trend towards premium products among British consumers, so those high-priced brands should sell well in 2018.

This applies not only to spirits, but also to beers, where craft ales and other premium beverages continue to gain ground.

The end of ‘ice and a slice’?

The Morning Advertiser recently reported on another premium trend – the tendency towards more specific garnishes and mixers in gin and tonic.

As more premium brand-name gins appear behind the bar even in local boozers, customers are increasingly expecting the right garnish to go with it, whether that means juniper berries, mint, grapefruit or cucumber.

It’s a challenge for operators to keep on top of a larger number of perishable ingredients, but it’s also an opportunity to justify premium-rate pricing on an otherwise simple G&T.

Brand-name mixers like Fever-Tree tonic complete the offering, taking the trend beyond the simple question of slimline or full-fat tonic.

It’s not only G&T that’s seeing increased customisation, as champagne and prosecco cocktails are also on an inexorable rise – and for many customers a glass of fizz is now incomplete unless there’s a shot of something fruity in the bottom of the flute.

 

Back To School

The new school year has started, so not only are there four and five year olds embarking on new adventures, but teens starting college and university. Students today have arguably higher expectations when it comes to their college and university common rooms, so you need to make sure yours is up to scratch.

To inspire you, take a look at our top 5 recommendations:

Pool tables 

Popular not only with sporty students, pool is a great way of encouraging students to take some time out and mix with others. It can be a great way for students to de-stress, especially during exams and when they’re overloaded with coursework. Have one or two pool tables in your common room can bring a smile to the faces of mature students too, they have wide appeal. Why not hire a pool table initially? They don’t have to have a standard green cloth top either, why not opt for red, purple or a colour to match your school colours?

Juke boxes

If you want to create a space that’s fun and vibrant, having good music is key. Rather than having the radio constantly on, why not get a digital juke box, so the students can choose what they want to listen to, and when?

Magazine rack

Having a magazine rack with a range of newspapers and magazines readily available, will be a great asset to any room. Make sure you stock a range of different publications so they have wide appeal, and remove any that get tatty or damaged. Some may go walkabout, but if you put a sign up requesting students keep them in the common room, any losses should be minimal.

Comfortable seating 

A common room is a place to socialise and relax, so the seating you choose should reflect this. Your sofas should be large enough for a group of students to sit on together, and you should have other chairs and beanbags dotted around the room. It’s a good idea to have at least one table, for those wanting to eat or study.

Bins 

It’s common sense, but if you want your common room to be left tidy, you need to make sure that there are plenty of bins available for the students to deposit any rubbish. During the course of the day, small bins will tend to get filled, so you’ll have to ask your cleaning staff to empty them regularly.

Manco Automatics

For more ideas on how you can entertain your students in your common rooms or SU, check out the full range of products available to hire and buy from our website >

 

Fruit machines – a beginner’s guide

Pub fruit machines are an ever-present source of entertainment ranging from classic one-armed bandits that have become collectors’ items, to high-stakes video slot machines that are restricted to adult players only.

The first fruit machine is credited to American inventor Charles Fey and was completed in 1895. It didn’t actually feature any fruit, but had three reels featuring symbols such as a heart, spade, diamond, star, horseshoe or a bell – the Liberty Bell that gave the machine its name.

Over the years since, designs have changed to include more reels and different symbols, plus plenty of features and side games, but the basic concept of a slot machine still owes a lot to the original Liberty Bell design by Charles Fey.

How to play a pub fruit machine

Modern pub fruit machines are computerised but the basic gameplay is the same as ever. Put the correct amount of money in the coin slot and press the Start button (or pull the lever on an old-style one-armed bandit) to spin the reels.

A basic win usually consists of the same three symbols matched up across the middle row, but there are lots of other ways to win on modern fruit machines, so take a moment to look at what’s lit up and what it’s worth before you decide to collect.

You can unlock extra features by completing the ‘trail’ (usually seen just above the ‘hold’ buttons) or sometimes by landing on a certain combination of feature symbols over one or several spins.

How to win on a slot machine

The big prizes on modern slot machines are one of the reasons why children are not allowed to play on them, but they add to the excitement for adults.

A fruit machine usually has lots of different ways to win – in fact most of those flashing lights are a win of one kind or another – and often it’s about knowing what to collect, and when.

For example, even a basic win worth tens of pence could be a way to unlock the main feature, if you successfully gamble, or you might prefer just to take the money immediately.

When you’re playing the feature, learn as you go along, and you’ll be more familiar the next time you play the same machine.

Look out for the times when you have a choice of what to collect – and if you’re coming up to a potential ‘game over’ space, decide whether it’s worth the risk or whether you should cash out early.

How to maximise the appeal of your pub

According to a new YouGov poll of 2,000 house hunters on behalf of property website TheHouseShop.com, 1 in 4 people want their new home to be within a 15-minute walk away of a good pub. They were happy for banks, schools and churches to be further away.

For landlords, this survey confirms how important pubs are to communities and it also highlights how important it is to attract people who have just moved into your area to your pub. After all, you want them to become regulars at your pub and not at a competitor’s down the road.

Judging a book by its cover

The outside of your pub is very important as you want to impress people, whether they’re driving or walking past. Make sure your outside space is clean and tidy at all times. It needs to be well-light, with smoking shelters and heaters. If your paintwork is looking drab, now is the time to consider repainting. Posters should be fresh and appealing, enticing people in with special offers and meal deals.

Consider your drinks range

Do you offer anything other pubs in your area don’t? For instance, do you have new speciality beers every month or hold craft beer events? Why not see if your current regulars have got any recommendations.

What entertainment do you offer?

As well as offering a wide selection of drink and food, you need to think about installing a pool table if you don’t have one already. They can be hired from Manco Automatics for a very reasonable price. Every time they’re used, you’ll be earning extra money and if you hold regular pool competitions you could create a real buzz in your local area.

A digital juke box is another way of generating extra income and drawing people in. Having the latest songs available (as well as classic tracks) will mean that every kind of music lover is catered for. Fans of pub quizzes will love playing on quiz machines and fruit machines might be something you want to consider too.

At the end of the day, you want your pub to offer the whole package so that it’s at the forefront of people’s minds next time they want to meet up with friends or enjoy a night out.

 

Getting ready for party season

Now is the time to start thinking about how you can make your venue stand out from the crowd this party season. People are already getting excited about Christmas, thanks in part to Christmas decorations, mince pies and tins of chocolates already being in the shops. Before then though, you’ve got Halloween and Bonfire night to plan for.

Digital juke boxes

Every good party needs music to sing along and dance to. Trying to cater for everyone’s tastes can be tricky if you’re relying on just a CD behind your bar but if you have an attractive digital juke box in one corner, your customers will be able to pick their own tracks. You can choose whether to profit share or rent.

Decorations

Get out your decorations from last year and bin any that are damaged or look like they’ve seen better days. It’s worth investing in some good quality decorations that will last you many years. Think about your windows, you want them to entice people passing to come inside. Lightening is very important as it helps create the right atmosphere.

Safety considerations

If you’re going to be holding a bonfire and firework display, then you’ll need to think about safety and let the relevant authorities know as soon as possible. Click here to find out more >

Entertaining

Does your current layout need rethinking for the party season? Would moving some tables and stools create more space that you could put to better use? Perhaps you could introduce a pool table or two, pull tab machines and/or fruit machines? Not only would your customers like them but they should help generate more income too. If you already have some, maybe now is the time to get them serviced as you don’t want them to breakdown in the run-up to Christmas.

Staff

Will you need to hire more staff for the party season? Perhaps now is the time to start recruiting so you can make sure they’re up to speed by the time things get busy. You might also want to think about ways your staff can compliment your décor. Perhaps they could wear Christmas jumpers or t-shirts?

Get help

To find out how you can make the most of your available space and improve your profitability, give Manco Automatics a call on 0161 870 7777. You can hire or buy jukeboxes, fruit machines, pool tables, quiz machines and pull tabs. We also offer a maintenance service.

Manco Automatics Ltd
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