Vision for Pubs
CAMRA's Vision For Pubs
Since 1980, pub numbers in Britain have fallen from 69,000 to around 52,000; 21 pubs are closing every week. Some of this is down to changing social habits, some to the attractiveness of pub buildings to developers, some to other reasons. We shouldn't forget, though, that pubs and bars remain the most popular leisure destinations for adults and that many pubs are thriving, even in the unlikeliest locations.
Pubs cannot afford to stand still. The competition for people's time and money is fiercer than ever – not just from supermarkets and other providers for home-based drinking but alternative venues like cafe/bars, coffee shops and casual dining chains.
CAMRA campaigns both to promote and protect our pubs. It isn't for us to tell pub owners and licensees how to run their pubs. However, as campaigners, we will seek to influence their thinking by highlighting what customers want and what seems to work in attracting that custom.
We have carried out market research into the likes and dislikes of all pub-goers (not just CAMRA members) and the results inform and shape what follows.
What Do People Want From Pubs?
Our research shows that pub-goers are looking for four qualities in particular:
Great Customer Service
- friendly reception for regulars and strangers alike.
- safe, welcoming environment that makes all customers feel happy and comfortable.
- quick, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and polite service at the bar.
- value for money (not meaning cheap, but value in relation to quality).
- efforts to obtain customer feedback.
Quality in Everything on Offer
- great real ale served in top condition.
- a range of other appealing drinks, alcoholic and otherwise.
- food, where offered, freshly prepared, 'home cooked' and well presented.
- attention to cleanliness, especially the toilets.
- easily available, comprehensive information about what the pub offers and when.
Choice and Variety
In any given area, people are keen to have a choice of pubs which cater for their particular interests or their wants at a given time. Pub users therefore hope to find pubs which focus on one or more of the following:
- real ale.
- top quality food.
- sport or music.
- catering for families.
- making the most of their historic interiors.
- being contemporary and stylish.
- just being great 'all-rounders'.
Separate research has revealed the value of community pubs in promoting health and well-being along with community cohesion. Such pubs might well:
- encourage social interaction and put something back into the community.
- run events like quizzes, music nights and beer festivals.
- provide meeting space for local clubs, societies and groups.
- provide good access for disabled people.
- where possible, have facilities for families like a garden and children's play area.
- raise funds for charities.
Who Else Can Help Pubs?
- appropriate regulation of pub companies.
- fairer tax regime for beer and pubs.
- more flexible licensing laws.
- strengthen pub-related planning law in Scotland and Wales
- local planning policies which protect pubs.
- adherence to adopted pub protection policies.
- removal of planning obstacles from establishment of new pubs.
Information Providing Organisations
- such as tourist information bodies, organisations which encourage interest in local food and drink, local magazines and other local media, heritage organisations can all help by giving pubs suitable publicity and encouraging people to visit them.
- above all, using their local pubs.
- promoting pubs and their activities in, for example, parish newsletters.
- resisting unwanted changes to pubs.
- in extremis, pursuing community purchases of pubs.
CAMRA wants pubs to keep the best of the traditional but also acknowledge that the world is always changing and adapt accordingly. Basically, we want lots of great pubs.