How much do you charge for a Sunday roast in your pub - £7? £10? £15? How about £1? That's what Paul Rollins, landlord of The Britannia in Margate did.
Paul has been at the community pub for four years and recently hit headlines for his £1 roasts. The idea was born out of a desire to increase food takings at the pub, which currently make up about 15 per cent of sales."We just thought it would be a good idea," Paul says. "If you break down the cost of advertising you are looking at hundreds of pounds, if not more. But the publicity that we got from it has been massive. We've had the national
papers here and we even had a call from the US.
"In my view the customers are getting a bargain dinner. It's a win-win situation."
Up to the point of the promotion, which ran in March, Paul was charging £7 for
Sunday lunch at the pub. Unsurprisingly, Paul reports there was a lot of disbelief when he first mooted the idea of slashing the price to a quid.
"People would say 'you can't do this'.
I believed we could and I believed it would work well, but people did think it was a con."
The idea was to run the promotion for a month. Despite the initial scepticism from punters, it was a huge success, with more than 400 sold over the four Sundays.
Paul kept costs down by sourcing meat from a local butcher, while seasonal vegetables came from a local farm. To get the bargain roast, customers had to spend at least £3 at the bar and were limited to either beef or turkey, whereas normally there are five different types of meat on offer.
The deal ran from 12pm until 5pm, with select time slots to control the demand.
"You don't have to be expensive to be good," Paul says.
"Think about how many people go to restaurants and complain that they got very small portions. We want to give good food for the right money.
"Some people came in just for lunch then left but others stayed for another drink and overall, the pub just about broke even.
There were tangible business benefits, as many new faces drawn to The Britannia for its bargain lunch have since come back and shelled out for a full price roast. But ultimately Paul admits he "didn't expect to make money."
Putting Margate on the map
As a former councillor, Paul is passionate about the town he lives in and the stunt
was about promoting both the pub and Margate itself.
"We are on the top of the hill. Some people don't know we are here. So, it's put us on the map but it's important for the area as well," he says. "There are a number of people coming from around Kent. They save money on their lunch and then they have a walk around the town. It's good for the local economy. Margate has a lot to offer."
By this measure the £1 roast was a huge success – with interest from the local area and beyond. Paul even received a phone call from someone in Manchester who
decided to visit Margate for a short break and went to The Britannia to sample the bargain meal.
"Most other publicans think I have gone round the bend. I am quite happy to pay £10 for a Sunday lunch but for me, this was about the promotion. Promoting the pub and promoting the area."
Paul and his team have deemed the promotion such a success in fact, that they brought the £1 initiative back for another month, with the offer running through June.
Style: leased, community wet-led pub with four
Entertainment: Food, live music, quizzes
Wet/dry split: 85/15