I heard an article on the radio earlier about pubs and how they might survive this strange year, and it got me thinking….
How would I design / operate a village pub?
To me it is a case of operating it as a village hub, this is not a new idea but it could benefit from recent ideas used in cities and other high street settings. Residents and visitors to a village need different amenities at different times of the day / week. For a pub to thrive I believe it needs to reflect these demands and be run in a way that limits what is available to the times that they are most needed.
So what can a pub feasibly offer to its locals and visitors?
It’s a Pub
This should be at the core of what it does. Pubs aren’t busy all day and therefore I would only open the pub element in the evenings and at the weekends.
Food can be offered from the pub in a pop up format. Essentially this would be operated by companies or even local residents coming in and preparing and cooking the food. This would reduce the amount of time required by the owner to organise / cook the food and would also mean that the pub could offer different foods on different nights. Pizza, Fish and Chips, Thai or Mexican etc.. to encourage locals to eat out more. This way of operating is already happening in villages with Fish and Chip and Pizza vans visiting villages regularly on certain evenings in the week.
Coffee Shop and general store
This is the biggest divergence from what the traditional village pub would offer. Traditional pubs are generally divided into two bars, a public bar and a saloon bar. It is possible to make one of these spaces into a coffee shop and general store. This would generate income for the pub during the day and as a cyclist I can safely say that if you are in a village, set within country lanes and serve good quality coffee and cake, cyclist will find you and tell their friends. The general stores aspect of the space does not need to be extensive and would only need to supply locals with some basic items that fills the gaps between larger shops.
Bed & Breakfast
This is another income stream that would feed into the other aspects of the pub. Rooms might be found upstairs or outbuildings can be converted / built. There are many different versions of bed and breakfast offerings and they vary from a help yourself style of buffet, left out by the owner to a full menu of cooked breakfasts.
Hopefully you can see from the above that there are many ways to operate a village pub depending on what village you are in what how much of the work you are willing to do yourself. To maintain some sanity I think you need to only open certain aspects of the pub at certain times and make sure they are busy enough to be able to afford the help you need.
My most successful clients are not the ones that open coffee shops and restaurants in cities that already have plenty of venues, they open a great coffee shop or a restaurant in a smaller town or village that doesn’t have an existing venue that does the locals justice. The loyalty from the locals in a business like this is immense and the social connection a good one.
If you think this is something you would like to engage with feel free to get in touch with us on the contact page.