Of fillet steak & Fray Bentos

It hasn’t been the most dispiriting of summers. Numbers seem to be up in city centre pubs at least and there seems to be some degree of buoyancy in the licensed trade rather than none at all as has been the case for the last few years.

But the recent survey by Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf of the Licensed Vintners Association makes for interesting reading.

In stressing the importance of the Dublin pub – indeed all pubs – to the local community, the survey finds service levels in Dublin pubs to be ‘good’ by three-quarters of respondents.

Service regarded as ‘good’ by three out of four consumers? By corollary, this means that one in four pubs still expect to get by on bad service, consciously or unconsciously paying little or no attention to service levels in their premises.

Since stumbling upon a pub that’s considered ‘good’ despite offering poor service levels is rarer than a finding tinned feathers, proprietors might like to re-assess their service standards in light of this finding, a finding I’d consider as being significant in that as many as one in four pubs don’t ‘measure up’ in the eyes of today’s consumer.

The majority of such pubs that fail to meet and indeed well exceed customer expectations will sooner or later be forced to close. That’s simply the livid reality of life.

So what are you doing to encourage those ‘regulars’ to multiply in number so that these ‘regulars’ become an everyday occurrence – they’re unlikely to be exactly the same cast and crew each night, but how can you ensure that the diurnal round numbers remain much the same at the bar counter?

After all, a pub without regulars is about as useful a dog that can climb pianos.

These days it’s hard to get the product wrong, so it all comes down to the customer’s appreciation of service and if you’re not in the meritocracy of popular pubs for this, you’re likely to find yourself in the mediocrity of the rest. There’s little in between.

It’s either fillet steak or Fray Bentos.

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