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We are a nation of pub lovers, they are a part of who we are and they often define us a race. We have small pubs and we have large pubs, but we do not have 5 star pubs. There are star rated hotels, decent cafes and some excellent restaurants, but do we really have what it takes to become a country of 5 star pubs? Or do we need help? Expertise? And a little learning from those who have already pioneered this path?

Food for Thought.

We all love food, after all its our fuel, but we also require stimulation of the senses and that requires the package from service, quality of food, ambience, atmosphere, seduction, indulgence, and value. But are we getting satisfaction? That’s food for thought. We have good operators throughout the country who try their utmost to provide us with what they think we need, but have they really understood what we really want? Do they project confidence? Consistent food? Memorable service? And the correct price point? Unfortunately, high tax, staffing issues, location issues, and above all the drive and determination to follow things through, now that’s the hard part to shake off. as Peter Drucker once said. "Management is easy and difficult. The easy thing is knowing what to do, the hard part is getting people to do it"

5 Star Learnings.

5 Star Hotels have to be just that, 5 star. If they are not, they loose their stars. Simple, effective and a good way of keeping their focus on consistency.5 Star hotels that offer great pub grub during the day, at good value, are the winners. They will always win because they automatially have very high standards to keep. They have a good Chef and they will be clean with good haccp training. All of this projects confidence. Pubs should follow suit. If they do, they will thrive. Ironically, good pubs can learn about being great food pubs from their 5 star hotel neighbours. An example? The 5 star Kingsley Hotel in Cork. Check it out and see how your 'pub food' business compares to theirs.

More Sir?

Yes we have smart bars scattered around but are we confident of their product? Is it value for money? Are we comfortable sitting in a standard room with harsh tables and cold chairs? Has the place got sincere warmth? Are your staff friendly? Do they smile? Do they know their produce? Does the menu entice you? Does it give you choice? Special treats? Healthy options? Value propositions? Do they want you to come back and tell your friends to try it? Does it deliver on the promise? The expectation? In fact, should it exceed expectation? ... That, after all, is how you make memorable magical customer moments.

To Follow!

This brings me to the conclusion that many operators are not giving back to the customer. Customers see that, they have sophisticated and agile radars. More importantly, they have choice and choice creates power. In a competitive business, it often seems as if it is 'bums on seats' at all costs is the order of the day and take it or leave it attitude. Pubs and food need to go back to basics and make it simple again. Simple things should not be made complex or confused. Fun needs to return for the customer, the owner and, most importantly, the staff.

Follow The Leader.

In England JD Wetherspoon, under the expert guidance of Tim Martin, helped to transform the world of pubs. In the 1980s they innovated by introducing food, food that became known as 'all day food' Since then,Wetherspoons has steadily built a reputation for great food. So much so that it is recognised today for its food as for its drinks, quality, innovation and brands. These pubs are recognised as 5 star establishments, there are currently 693 JD Wetherspoons across Britain and 3 open every month. They are committed to sourcing the best quality ingredients and, for example they only serve organic milk in their teas and coffees. All Wetherspoon eggs are free range, and they use dolphin friendly tuna. The list goes on, so too does the innovation. The managers and owners put back in what they take out and this is recognised with 5 star status, it portrays confidence and consistency and that is why they are growing, growing in a challenging climate. That says it all.

Mouth Watering Menus.

The Wetherspoon menu is fantastic, relevant and generous. It is a large bright supermarket of dishes offering an exciting mix of traditional meals and local specials, along with popular and innovative international dishes at great value. The kids menu offers a healthy option and caters for all ages. There are 'meal deals' 'beverage deals' wine classes, and an endless list of ideas, involvement and relevance to their market. This menu, with its large choice simply lures you in. It skilfully creates a kaleidoscope of mouth watering and tempting ideas. It mesmerises the senses and, creates excitement when you are hungry. It is clever, very clever indeed. It is also great fun to read, whether its breakfast, lunch, snacks, midafternoon, dinner, or supper, they have it all covered. In other words, your moods and needs are catered for and every part of the day has an appropriate offer.

A Toast!

After a life with Marco Pierre White, let's make a toast to Wetherspoons and shout high from the Wicklow mountains... "Where is Ireland's answer to this 5 star Pub?"

12 Lessons, Learning’s and Why Follow The Leader

The JD Wetherspoon Menu works for several reasons. However, here are 12  highlights that you should consider if you want to follow the pioneers, trail blazers and leaders.
1 The menu is bright, large, and immediately interesting.
2 The food quality and sourcing of produce is high
3 Everything is great value and it's a great place for kids
4 Everything they do projects confidence
5 Good management training, good staff training. They lead from the front and invest in their staff
6 You can eat 2 to 3 times a week as there is good choice, you won't get bored.
7 Good locations, they know where to locate.
8 Good use of local artisans, people and product. They make themselves relevant.
9 Great service system. It delivers the promise effectively and on time.
10 Award winning. That matters.
11 Healthy options for all ages. It is an ageless, timeless menu.
 12 They recognise the value, appeal and importance of Upselling. They also realise that customers love it!

10 Things To Consider

1 Make your menu more reader friendly. Language counts, so does quality, layout and graphics.
2 Have an 'upgrade' policy but make it easy to find.
3 A good menu will have lots of options but don't overdo it. Remember, most people have short concentration spans.
4 Make it easy, quick and efficient for me to pay. Remember, I might just be on my lunch 'hour'   
5 If you recommend something to drink, like a good red wine with a cheese plate, let me know how much.
6 Make sure your Pub and your menu fit your market. Can suits sit happily with overalls? Or should it be one or the other. Better to be a Master than a Jack of all trades.
7 Can you deliver when at your busiest? If not, I might not be back.
8 Do you know exactly who your core customer is? If not, find out. If you do, mind them.
9 If you are a big pub make sure I never feel lost, lonely or isolated.
10 Make your policy, create your brand, be brave, be fearless and stick to the plan. After all, that is how great brands get built....just like JD Wetherspoon.

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