All successful food and beverage concepts possess certain key qualities that contribute to their success. However, without exception, they all deliver a consistently excellent experience to the consumer while supporting the management of the business with efficient systems and processes. Although the core offering of a very successful restaurant concept is usually not that different from its competitors, their success lies in their ability to understand who their consumer is, what that consumer wants, and then to execute exactly as the consumer expects. It’s about how to make the mundane very special and desirable. It’s about matching the desired consumer experience with the delivered consumer experience. This commitment to execution sets them apart from their competition and makes them giants in their category.
Similarly, to understand why the Irish Pub Concept is so successful, we need to distinguish between Irish Pubs that genuinely transport Irish culture, hospitality and tradition……and pubs with Irish names or Irish memorabilia hanging on the walls that deliver nothing other than a generic, sterile bar experience. In other words, we need to understand why the Irish Pub Concept takes the pub experience to a whole different level of excellence.
Unlike these other pubs and themed restaurants, the Irish Pub Concept consistently delivers an authentic consumer experience. By combining stunningly-accurate interior design with great food, drink, music and, most of all, people, guests are immersed in another world of warmth, conversation, laughter and fun. What the Irish call ‘the craic’….real fun.
From a financial perspective, this level of authenticity works hard to make consumers feel they are in a premium environment and therefore can indulge themselves. From this feeling comes the natural prompt to switch from domestic beers to import beers, from rye & bourbon to premium and single malt whiskies. Annually, this can translate into tens of thousands of dollars of incremental revenue and profit. The Irish Pub Concept differs from the generic bar experience not just because of its authenticity but because it is a bullet-proof vehicle for financial success.
To illustrate just how successful the Irish Pub Concept is, it should be looked at in the context of current casual-dining performance in the United States.
In a maelstrom of casual-dining competition and in a world of homogenous roadhouse food, the Irish Pub Concept emerges as probably one of the hottest trends in the industry. Not only does it deliver a powerful consumer experience, it also delivers one of the strongest bottom-lines in the industry and a minimal need for capital reinvestment.
Amongst the most important reasons for this strong bottom-line is the yield per square foot of retail space. This phenomenon is influenced by a number of factors which include but are not limited to a very favorable food to beverage ratio, the volume of day-part business that other restaurants cannot access and by the almost automatic switch that consumers make to import beers, adding considerably to the total guest check and average spend. The imported Irish beers, Guinness®, Harp® and Smithwicks® are not only critically important to authenticity, they are also critically-important to the bottom-line.
Below is an illustration of how a well-managed pub can perform when compared to the casual-dining segment:
|Casual Dining Restaurant||Irish Pub|
|Food @ 75%||Beverage @ 75%||Food @ 60%||Beverage @ 40%|
|Labor @ 29%||Labor @ 25%|
|COS @ 30%||COS @ 28%|
|Total Prime Cost||Total Prime Cost|
|Contribution to Overhead||Contribution to Overhead|
This performance has been acknowledged by some of the major operators in the industry. Over the past ten years, we have seen the Irish Pub Concept appear in casinos, sports arenas and hotels as national operators begin to realize the potential quantum leap in revenues and profit that can be achieved.
In addition, the appeal of the Irish Pub Concept is very strong across a very broad demographic and a very broad range of dining, drinking and entertainment occasions. Unlike the casual-dining restaurant or bar categories, the concept has the ability to flex its offering to consumers at different times of the day, maximising revenues from business lunches, cocktail hour, dinner and late-night entertainment.
The Irish Pub Concept defies standard industry assumptions, thriving successfully in towns of 25,000 people, and performing equally well in urban and suburban locations. Opened with adequate capital resources and managed diligently, the Irish Pub Concept can be a reliable route-map for success in the restaurant business.