Opinion

If you build it they won’t necessarily come

The long-awaited recovery in the Irish economy seems underway - though that trickledown effect, while still eagerly anticipated outside the capital, seems not to be materialising quite yet - but this recovery has brought with it feral competition for trade among the country’s retail outlets, not least the pubs, hotels nightclubs and off-licences.

Those that have come to understand the ever-changing consumer needs and who’ve kept-up with them as they come to the surface, are flourishing.

Those that understand their customer profile are driving experience for the ‘frequent eat-out’ Generation Y consumer in their outlets which in turn, drives engagement and in its turn – the most important attribute of all – loyalty.

Our recent Discussion Forum comprised three publicans who seem to have this situation in hand in their own outlets. What they stress is the need to keep up with what’s ‘trending’ (to use a fleeting social media expression in an analogue static context).

Elsewhere, we get the view from Andy’s Bar & Restaurant, a bar very much in touch with what’s trending, so much so that we devoted a whole article to hearing about Sean and Kevin Redmond’s outlook on life in the licensed trade.

If anything can be learned from these two pieces, it’s the importance of knowing how to analyse consumer demographics to better contribute to overall profits – in other words, understanding your customer. It must be done.

And with such variegated demand from a pretty promiscuous consumer, it’s perfectly feasible to look at your own particular outlet’s appeal in terms of your own particular customer demographic.

Whatever customer profile you identify in your own outlet, you must supply them with exactly what they want or – as our Discussion Forum contributor put it – you’re going to be “dead in the water”.

Publicans such as those we speak to in the above two cases are perfectly aware that the mousetrap is no more. More is required. If you build it they won’t necessarily come.

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