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Summer Success | Top Tips for Maximising On-Trade Profits

  • HEINEKEN UK shares insight into three key areas that outlets can easily activate for a summer sales boost

  • The pointers reinforce the brand’s “Let’s Get Together” and “Great with Food” category drivers – worth a combined £438M incremental value to the sector over three years

  • Easy-to-implement tactics include sunshine serves, food and drink pairings and perfect pub gardens

With summer now in full swing and prospects of another heatwave on the horizon, HEINEKEN UK has compiled a series of tips designed to help outlets take full advantage of the summer months. The insight reinforces two of HEINEKEN UK’s key category drivers: “Let’s Get Together” and “Great with Food”.

There are a multitude of easy-to-implement tactics that venues can put into practice to encourage consumers through the door. Here are HEINEKEN UK’s top three:

1. Sunshine serves

While summer sees sales of Pimms, Aperol and rosé wine fly through the roof due to their long-standing association with the warmer weather, cider is undoubtedly at the helm of this insurgence. The average on trade outlet takes around 2% extra revenue throughout summer, with cider taking the lion’s share with 16% increase. Over this time, consumers spend over £23million more on cider per month than in the average month, accounting for over 50% of the total growth[1].


  • While mainstream beers and ciders are still important to a venue’s core offering, tap into the trend for premiumisation by tempting consumers to try a more premium beer or cider. This can be implemented through standalone founts and creative POS and back-bar displays.

  • Old Mout – the fastest growing premium flavoured cider in the on trade[2] – is a popular choice. With exotic flavours such as Pineapple & Raspberry and strong sustainability credentials to boot, the New Zealand-born brand is a perfect match for current taste preferences.

  • Don’t forget lager! While peaking at a 5% increase in summer[3], the size of the segment and demand for long, refreshing drinks over the warmer months still represents a significant sales opportunity for the on trade. Premium sunshine lagers such as Sol and Desperados see an even greater increase in sales over summer with volumes increasing to up to 12%[4].

  • Consider increasing your fridge space for sunshine lagers, along with packaged cider, to meet demand and increase visibility. Placing these trade up brands on the top shelf of the fridge will also help boost sales and drive value.

  • Consider ice bucket serves for premium packaged products to speed up service at the bar.

2. Food and drink pairings

In an economy where experience is key, outlets should be prepared for summer with a well-thought out food offering, carefully curated to match its drinks selection. With more than a third of all on trade drinking occasions now including some kind of food[5], pairings are a brilliant way to entice customers through the door, leading to an increase in footfall and spend. Seasonal menus and specials which incorporate local produce and emphasise the provenance of ingredients are a big hit with consumers, with 50% saying they want to make healthier lifestyle choices by actively choosing sustainably-sourced or organic produce[6].

  • Promote seasonal menus and specials with a sustainable focus alongside special drinks offers to drive value sales.

  • If not already in place, it’s important to add a children’s menu or offer smaller portions to entice families, especially over the summer holiday period.

  • Highlight food and drink promotions as well as new menu additions on Snapchat and Instagram. With over 89% of 21-34 year olds active on social media[7], these platforms provide the perfect tools to connect with a millennial audience.

  • Within outlets, grab consumers’ attention and drive value sales through temporary seasonal menus attached to the main menu, chalkboards and creative POS in key hotspots around the bar to encourage trade-up and exploration amongst drinkers.

  • Stock up on brands which align themselves with food, such as Continental Premium Lager Birra Moretti. The pale colour and carbonation of the much-liked, versatile drink – which also sits in line with the premiumisation trend – makes it light enough to complement almost any dish on the menu.

3. Pub gardens

Long summer days are the ultimate win for pubs with gardens. But while it might seem like the crowds appear of their own accord, there is still plenty that owners can be doing to drive footfall and spend. For one, serving food and drink that customers associate with the outdoors is a simple way to ensure the outlet meets the demand. In addition, the aesthetic of an outlet’s outdoor space is equally important; even a quick tidy-up can go a long way in making a space look more attractive to consumers considering where to spend their time.

  • Simple, low-cost investment into outdoor space including updated signage, new furniture and parasols and even flower-filled planters can work wonders in enticing people in.

  • 53% of customers would visit a pub more often if there was a good garden – so tell your customers you have one! Outlets can tempt customers in with plenty of outdoor seating, both shaded and in the sun, to facilitate bringing people together.

  • Consider setting up a temporary bar in an outlet’s garden using Blade, a cutting-edge draught dispense beer system, or SmartDispense, which has revolutionised the way cider and beer is stored and cooled, both of which only require one power point. A secondary bar can also reduce queue-time at the main bar, ensuring higher frequency and increased dwell-time. Promising fresh, quality draught beer, Blade is perfect for pub gardens. Currently, Heineken® 0.0 and Birra Moretti are available on Blade in 8L kegs.

[1] CGA Strategy – 12 weeks of Summer 8th Sept, Data to 20th April 2019

[2] CGA Strategy – 20th April 2019

[3] CGA Strategy – Data to 20th April 2019

[4] CGA OPMS data to 15th June 2019 but based on the last 5 years

[5] CGA Strategy, 52 w/e 11 August 2018

[6] Kantar Alcovision December 2017

[7] IPA Touchpoints 2019 data (of 6,000 participants who claim to use social media platforms at least once a week)

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