Friday, 16 November 2012

Mr Bean’s Own Goal

Ernesto commented on my post of 5 November that the Bold Arms in Churchtown has done away with the happy hour, a fact which someone confirmed last night in the “pub news” section of our local CAMRA meeting. The excuse he was given is that the pub is the only one in their chain that still has a happy hour.  As he cynically comments, “Of course we're all rolling in cash up in Churchtown/Crossens”.

As an excuse, it’s somewhat unconvincing. What difference does it make if it is the only pub in the chain with a happy hour? If consistency across the estate is what they want, why not spread happy hours to the other pubs? The thinking is clearly that of the bean counter: we’ll get more money from the beer we sell. This of course doesn’t take into account the fact that they will quite probably sell less, because drinkers will be encouraged to catch the 49A bus into town and go to the Sir Henry Segrave, the Willow Grove, the Sandgrounder, the Baron’s Bar, the Phoenix and (slightly further out) the London Hotel for cheaper beer. And once people establish new drinking habits, they tend not to revert to their old ones even if the cause of their move to another pub has been put right.

The original point of happy hours was to get people into pubs at times when they might otherwise be empty. Most happy hour customers won’t pay the full price and some can't afford to: they’ll simply go elsewhere. A bit of an own goal there, I think.

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