Could a bottomless brunch rival the covers of a Sunday roast? Come on, you've been toying with the idea for ages... here’s everything you need to know.
Bottomless Brunch: noun
1. A popular offering in which customers pay between £15 - £35 for an all you can eat and drink within a certain time slot. Conditions vary per venue.
The concept has taken off all over London, and is growing in popularity across cities like Manchester, Bristol and Brighton.
Why should I offer bottomless in my pub?
Juanita Rai, founder of the brunch search engine site Best of the Brunch, says the boozy event has become an expected occurrence.
“In the spirit of the modern age, long lazy brunches with unlimited drink has now become the new norm,” she explains.
“Additionally, they are another unique way to celebrate special occasions like hen dos and birthdays.”
If you want to up covers on a Saturday morning, this could be the answer.
For the Pen and Pencil NQ in Manchester, offering a bottomless brunch once a month is a guaranteed sell out.
“Saturdays are so much busier when we hold a boozy brunch on the first Saturday of each month,” explains sales and marketing manager Rachael Honeyman.
“It sells out every time and it means we’re guaranteed 90 covers between the hours of 10am to 1pm.”
If you’re new to the idea, running a trial bottomless brunch as an exclusive event could be the answer, just make sure you have enough staff.
Won’t I just end up with a bar full of drunk punters?
Boozy Brits swinging their underpants around before noon (or any time) is not desirable, so there are a few things you can do to keep things under control.
Rebecca Farmer of Oaks in Nottingham has recently found a solution.
“You ensure there are enough staff to man each section of the pub and consider the time frame which customers have to drink.
“We gave customers two hours of bottomless booze, but now we’ve limited it to 90 minutes and we think this will work much better.
“We also have a rule that customers have to order two items off the menu, so their stomach is lined.”
Okay, so how do I give away booze without losing out?
Most pubs tend to offer just bottomless prosecco or Bloody Marys, they’re easy and cheap, plus seem trickier to drink too fast.
However, The White Star Tavern in Southampton offers an entire cocktail menu.
“You’ve got the Rum Passion made with fresh orange and passion fruit and the Coffacini, made with coffee and Baileys. They all go with breakfast,” says general manger Marc Wilson.
But cocktails cost a bit more time and effort to make – does it pay off?
“We know our clientele, and they don’t go mad. Plus breakfast is filling so sometimes they’ll only have one or two, then they might stay on for lunch and spend more.”
Right, so bottomless brunches are all about the drinks?
No way, in fact without a fantastic food offering people are unlikely to come again.
Speciality Breads managing director, Peter Millen says: “Like with any food and drink nowadays in a pub, it has to be top quality when it comes to taste and looks. Consumers will just not accept it otherwise. Brunch is a treat so consumers go expecting the best ingredients and an array of tempting dishes.”
Anthony Gunson, owner of The King & Co, Clapham Common, agrees. He has a rotating collaboration kitchen for his bottomless brunch, showcasing London street food traders and popup chefs.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re offering free booze, the food still has to be good,” he says.
Is it for every pub though?
You need to consider location and clientele. If you’re a city based pub, you might find it’s a great way to pull in different customers.
Anthony continues: “Everyone knows their customers, but it is worth giving it a go. Just make sure the food brings people in as much as the booze.
“It also depends on how much you want to boost brunch trade, the bottomless offer is a good way to compete against other brunch-focused establishments.”
What are the standout features of the most successful bottomless brunch offers? Best of the Brunch founder, Juanita Rai, explains.
. Unlimited drinks which include not just prosecco, but other speciality brunch cocktails, breakfast juices and tea & coffee
. Some sort of guest interaction, like live entertainment or make your own brunch cocktail stations.
. A high quality brunch selection, including both sweet and savoury dishes which will help to soak up all that alcohol. Brunch set menus with two or three courses are the most popular. Many restaurants we see are now offering more traditional 'lunch' options as well as the usual breakfast offerings to offer a unique menu for guests
. An affordable reasonable price.