Craig Brown, The Plough Inn
Craig Brown Landlord from The Plough Inn at Ford and current holder of Racing Pub of the year share tips on making racing work for you.
How do you maintain customer loyalty?
Most of our customers are racing enthusiasts so we cater for their needs by keeping the Racing Post to hand and show Racing UK throughout the day, so all races are covered.
To encourage repeat visits we supply a discount voucher for customers including the local stable hands where we are able to collect e-mail addresses. We then e-mail customers letting them know about the coming racing. Regulars are your bread and butter and will support you the most through the tough times.
What do you do to attract new customers?
The Plough Inn is deep in the country so we put the Racing UK banner, posters and our 'A-Boards' outside the pub to advertise that we show Racing UK to attract new customers who may be driving past to stop.
The replays shown on Racing UK also create additional interest especially on weekday evenings. People come in after work and catch up with the days racing; they sit with the Racing Post as if they are watching the racing live.
Which races work best for you?
The pub is very close to Cheltenham racecourse so The Cheltenham Festival is the busiest time of year and we try and maximise the potential.
We put on a breakfast carvery to bring customers in early and erect a marquee outside the pub, which has two large plasma screens On Gold Cup day we can get up to 250 people in the marquee shouting at the screens, it's a fantastic atmosphere. We also organise a local freelance mini bus driver to ferry race-goers to and from the races.
Luckily Ruby Walsh is a regular during the Cheltenham festival which brings in new punters.
5 top tips for boosting business
1. Look after your locals, with the free Racing UK tickets, by doing this they will look after you;
2. Understand your clientele. We know that our strongest asset is our location and affiliation to racing so we ensure all races are shown in the pub on Racing UK and keep the Racing Post on the tables so racing fans can look at form;
3. Create something a little 'extra' around your busiest times to maximise custom, as we do for the Cheltenham festival;
4. Work hard to attract new custom, and covert them to regulars this starts with promotion, easily done with the Racing UK POS material;
5. People need a personal touch to get them back regularly, we offer a free bottle of wine to our regulars on their birthday.
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