Pubs should try and replicate the success of new concepts like Flight Club by reinventing their in-house darts and entertainment, Marstons’ Andrew Carlill told MCA’s Pub Conference.

Carlill said pubs had “always been the home of experiences”, and said there were various ways operators could tap into this trend - starting with a well poured pint of beer.

He told delegates Marston’s was striving to “the best in the marketplace” when it came to its own entertainment, such as live music and pub quizzes.

“An increasing number of customers say they prefer to spend their money on a memory than a tangible item,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to create 3,000 escape rooms tomorrow - it will be different for us, but its important in terms of what we do.

“Most of you know Flight Club, and there’s things we could do replicate that, things we could do differently. Darts leagues are still huge in the marketplace.

He said the company invested generously in AV equipment and digital technology to enhance its quizzes, for example.

Traditional pub entertainment such as live music and televised sports offered other opportunities for improvement, he said.

The Marston’s head of pub operations said during his 20-minute presentation, the 2,000 strong pub estate he oversees would serve 10,000 customers – which he said presented 10,000 opportunities to amaze customers, “or not”.

The pubco has a staff benefits scheme called Marston rewards, where employees of all levels can get discount on a variety of things such as groceries and leisure.

“I think there’s more we can do, but it’s a really good start,” Carlill added. “Giving people something to help them, whatever that may be, is really important to us.”

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