Pub operators are becoming increasingly ‘web savvy’ but are resistant to new payment method technology, according to new research.
A study by him! for the Future Pub Conference found that 69% of publicans have a website for their pub, up from 54% in 2012. The proportion that has a Facebook page has risen from 57% to 65%, with 37% having presence on Twitter, almost double the proportion from two years ago (20%).
However, just 3% of the 150 publicans surveyed would consider having self-ordering terminals, 15% would consider giving iPads to staff for taking orders, and 30% would think about using a ‘wave and pay’ payment system.
“The shock that I had going through the results was how publicans themselves are quite resistant to these ideas,” said Ed Sibley, senior client manager at him!
A separate study based on a nationally representative sample of 500 pub customers suggests they are also increasingly engaging with pubs using digital means. Three in five across all age groups had engaging directly with pubs via pub websites.
But while 23% of customers have visited a pub’s Facebook page, just 4% have visited their Twitter page, suggesting an opportunity here.
The Future of Pubs 2014 research also found that customers are more likely to use a pub’s website for functional reasons, while Twitter or Facebook are more popular for other means.
While 78% have visited a pub’s website to view the food menu, just 34% have looked at their Facebook or Twitter pages for that information. A higher proportion also use the website to find out a pub’s opening times and location (50% against 27% for Facebook and Twitter) and to find out their telephone number (36% against 23%).
However, 38% have looked at a pub’s Facebook or Twitter page to find out information about upcoming events; just 27% have visited their website for this reason. And 9% have used the social media tools to write a review, against 6% who have visited a website for this reason.
Meanwhile, 49% of customers say the quality of pub staff is very important to their pub experience. Sibley said: “Technology should work around that to make the service easier but not replace that personal touch.”
The research also found that 41% of publicans plan to run more events over the next 12 months - 70% of customers think pubs should host more events.