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What puts you off getting yourself down the pub? "The price of drinks" I hear you cry as one. "Why pay more when I can get jolly well sloshed at home for a mere fraction of the cost?" That's the standard thinking is it not? Well you'd be wrong. It seems it isn't four quid plus a pint that is putting many of us off, but according to a recent Mintel report, it's the shitty bogs.

Well not just the shitty bogs, although 53% of people questioned moan about that, but funnily enough, customers actually do care about some of the things I've been banging on about since God was a boy. People (47%) cite "poor customer service" as one of the main reasons not to go to a pub, along with the unwelcoming atmosphere(44%). It isn't a neutral thing how you treat people. They really do notice. We can't forget high prices though. A not inconsiderable 35% thought high drink prices a deterrent, along with 24% feeling the cost of grub is too high - but the point is that it isn't what they care about most.

Now aren't these astonishing figures? It seems that nearly half of people interviewed find that poor service and welcomes deter them from going to the pub. Equally amazingly, 85% of respondents did not cite distance as a factor in going to the pub. In other words, people will travel to a good pub as it fulfils their expectation of what a pub should be like and presumably they enjoy themselves when they get there. Maybe some should ponder that when they look at their empty pubs?

It really is time that pubs sorted this aspect out. Can there really be an excuse for poor welcomes, bad service and dirty toilets? None of these things should really cost too much put right. Failure to so so is a massive own goal. When we hear publicans moan about prices and PubCos (usually in the same breath) and demands for level playing fields, it seems, that the answer in part at least, is in their own gift according to their customers. I've said it before and will say it again. Put your own house in order first. Lead by example and demand that your staff are attentive and responsive. Ensure they say "hello" and "goodbye". The odd "thank you" wouldn't go amiss either. Oh and don't forget to clean the toilets. It seems your (potential) customers really do notice these things and when they don't meet expectations, they vote with their feet.

To sum up. It's the offer Stupid! Forget that at your peril. The future belongs to pubs that really do make it worthwhile to go there.

The Morning Advertiser has the details here - without my rant.