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As any businessman, or woman, knows, one of the ways to make be successful is to have knowledgeable staff and a strong point of sale, so why yesterday, did I encounter three different pubs who appeared pretty clueless ? Admittedly, these were all in Newcastle City Centre, but the concept applies across the board, wherever you drink, and in what ever field you sell in.

I will not name names, but two of the pubs were part of a national chain, and the other a pub that has only been open less than a week. My first encounter with the staff problem, was that of being the invisible customer. People who know me, know I am 6ft and not easy to overlook. But standing at a fairly quiet bar, waiting to order my beer, I was passed by whilst little old ladys were served with latte and tea, and a group of young kids with pints of lager. Both of which arrived at the bar after me. A good start to the day ! But I did eventually get my beer, so I could not complain too much.

Not until I called in my second pub. Here I again wanted one beer, from a choice of six and was immediately served by an attentive barman. He pulled my beer, and took my money and promptly topped it up with another beer. I pointed out his mistake and he repeated the process, even down to topping the beer with another different beer ! Attempt number three was a success, but it did little for my confidence in the staff. (I know, I work behind a bar, and have probably done the same myself in the past, but not twice ! before the comments start flooding in)

My third encounter involved the point of sale information, or in this case disinformation. The second multi national, 6 beers on the bar, 2 with pump clips that from my point of view were less than informative. They were clear, white on black, with the abv prominently displayed, so that was ok, but the legend 'Pub X IPA' was less than helpful, as was 'Pub X Mild'. I know that the pub does not have beer brewed especially for it, and when I asked the bar staff who brewed the beer, their answer was that they had no idea and made no efforts to find out for me. I walked out. Another sale lost.

I am not being critical of bar staff in general, I think they generally do a good job often in trying circumstances, but there are times when the service falls below that I would consider acceptable, and yesterday was one of those days.