Nick Bish Chief Executive, ALMR
ALMR is looking forward to this coming year. If anything 2012 may be harder as there seems to be a collective state of paralysis about how to deal with the global economic meltdown. This is a backdrop where the very best we can all hope for is uncertainty, because the alternative is catastrophe. The avoidance of catastrophe is in other more powerful hands – at home and abroad and globally; politicians are going to earn their pay and the confidence we place in them.
On the other hand uncertainty creates opportunities for those who are strong; growth will come from stealing market share. One thing is certain: experienced operators returning to the sector will improve competition — and quality. The pubco disposals added to a higher quality of offering on the pub market in 2011, with more pubs remaining as pubs upon sale.
And of course there is the rise of food-led pubs, bringing with them consumers (and their spend) from the traditional restaurant sector. Increasingly pubs are seen as a family night out where good beer is accompanied by excellent food.
It’s going to be a great year to celebrate sporting achievement, national identity and business resilience. ALMR membership is growing rapidly and we look forward to supporting operators’ business success and demonstrating to a doubtful Government that we are a vibrant, responsive and positive industry that can offer jobs to young people, pay taxes to the exchequer and still be at the heart of the nation’s social life.
So, how we manage uncertainty must be the focus of our attention. The consumer is not broke but will be looking for definite occasions to celebrate and therefore will be selective about where and when to spend money. The trick will be to add value all the time, to encourage the highest spend and also to earn loyalty from discerning customers. Good operators do this already and will continue to thrive; less good ones may struggle. ALMR may not be able to stop the rain but we do have an umbrella.
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