The end of the pub… as we know it?

If you look closely, you can see the economy changing before our eyes.

This Friday I was out for a drink at my local. It is not a frequent event these days, but still nice to get out every so often.

Yet, over the last few months, I have been noticing how it has been getting quieter each and every time. Less people, less menu choice and closing earlier.

This weekend it felt like the music was off, the lights on and dishwasher whirring by around 9:45 pm…we closed the place and were last to leave.

What is changing?

And it is not just me. Chatting to a local taxi driver it seems he is also seeing something similar, not picking up from places in town as much now either.

Rather than everyone going out to meet with friends at the bar, we appear to be increasingly stocking up at the supermarket and having people around the house instead.

Why has this changed?

Now maybe this is all the result of two years of pandemic restrictions… Maybe it is due to increasing energy costs curtailing eating out and increasing prices… Or maybe it is just cost of living increases making staying at home just more attractive, it afterall does cost less. (I know I am guilty of going out less, for at least a couple of these reasons too).

And… not just the pub!

Even on the way back from an autumn walk today, I passed an animated conversation in the street clearly on the topic of Halloween candy… or lack of…

There was talk of hunkering down, turning off the lights and hiding in the back room… maybe the pandemic has just changed us a bit… we are all a little more antisocial.

Something is up

Whatever it is, it does seem like something is happening. On the outside all is familiar, but underneath there are signs society is changing, albeit slowly, steadily, before our eyes. Accepted norms are increasingly being challenged.

This raises an important question for us now…

IF this is indeed happening, AND IF this momentum is there… how should we change our business model and interaction with customers today?

Simply relying on the old business model when an environment changes, in the hope the good old days will return, does not lead to great outcomes… just ask at your local neighbourhood video rental store.

What to do now?

An answer, of sorts, came in the form of another TED talk… Will Guidara and his focus on unreasonable hospitality… listening to customers and creating great experiences.

Now, we cannot all afford to be a high-end restauranteur, nor can our customers necessarily afford, nor business models support, fulfilling every wish and desire.

But, we can listen and watch closely what customers want, look for subtle changes in behaviour that necessitate a change to our products, then making sure we react and change them fast.

To survive we are all going to have to be nimble and working in partnership with customers is surely going to help.

Halloween night

More immediately, extending this principle, I also need to get to the shops quick… Halloween is tomorrow night and a large amount of candy is needed…

Based on my ’customer’ feedback… mini Mars bars, Maltesers and Swizzels are all products of choice … Tootsie rolls not… Some traditions will no doubt continue to survive!

Have a good week everyone… and happy Halloween (& leave any candy-related feedback in the comments below!)

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