Sunday, 7 February 2010

Boys and butterflies...............

When I have a night out with the girls there's nothing I like more than lounging about on pink scatter cushions, glass of chardonnay in hand whilst gossiping about boys and butterflies and how to be the perfect housewife but finding the right pub to go to is often so tricky. Lucky for little ol' me Greene King are set to come to the rescue by giving their pubs a 'Sex and The City' makeover  and introducing free toiletries, great big glasses of wine and complimentary copies of Cosmo.

Please - could this sexist tripe be any more patronizing?? I am a firm believer that pubs need to do a lot more to be a comfortable environment for a lot of women and over on my Good Pub Guide Blog have suggested a lot of simple changes that would make the drinking environment better for women from offering table service to free wifi but hot pink toilets and free Heat Magazine...........seriously???

I shouldn't be too hard on Greene King, they have at least, rightly identified the importance of making pubs more attractive to women. In this latest initiative they are targeting a group of ladies they call SWAGs - sassy, wise and grown up ladies who are 35+ and  have money burning a hole in their pockets it seems. Now I'm a little way off 35 so you could argue that maybe I'm not target market but somehow when I'm asked what I want to do for my 35th birthday going to the 'Lippy & Eyeliner' is not going to be top of my list!!

Whilst they should be applauded for trying to appeal more to women their current ideas sound like the sort that were suggested by men, amid lots of sniggers, when they thought no one from HR was listening. I think Claire Eyles from The George Inn in Daventry, who is similarly sceptical,  sums it up well, 
"The issue of attracting more women to public houses is one that most pub companies have tried to address, but the type of lady we are attracting is not overly concerned as to whether she can get a 250ml serving of wine, or read a glossy magazine.
It is purely and simply because Chris and I have created the right atmosphere that makes those females feel comfortable in coming in for that evening"
Personally I would much rather spend a night with Claire or in any pub that focusses on offering women great service and quality rather than trying to cash in on short term gimics!


Brew_monkey said...

I struggle to understand the whole women v men thing here. Surley a pub should do what they do regardless of the gender of clientel? A safe, controlled, friendly environment offering a wide variety of drinks, food and entertainment. As a publican and business owner i think that if you start pandering to what everyone wants you are on a hiding to nothing. You should be proud of what you offer, do your best to offer the best drinks and service and if its good it will work for anyone interested. As they say 'build it and they will come'

Adrian Tierney-Jones said...

the whole women in pubs thing is so beyond me — in my 20s all the best looking women were in the pub, who cared what they drank as long as they spoke with you (my brother was more successful though).
The GK thing (and I do rate some of their beers so this is not a bashing the big behemoths thing) suggests elderly, cravat-wearing vicars pontificating how they can get ‘the kids’ through their doors, utterly focus group driven and utterly divorced from life in the field.

Kristy said...

Brew_Monkey I agree that pubs should concentrate on doing what they do and doing it well and you can't cater for everyone. But the old field of dreams adage doesn't always ring true when there is so much competition out there and you're not always getting the customer you want. If I'm on my own I'm a lot more likely to go into a starbucks than a pub and notice a lot of other women doing the same - if you want some of that spend you may well need to do things a bit differently

ATJ - Greene King do do a lot of things right, this just seems to have fallen very wide of the mark. Like you say seems to have been devised in a far flung meeting room, not in an actual pub!

Woolpack Dave said...

It's tricky getting that one right. Pubs can be a bit macho, so much so that even I'm scared sometimes. The all round friendly comfortable image is I guess what works.

However, a busy pub is probably going to be intimidating to most ladies and most licensees want a busy pub. I think it's impossible for a busy pub to compete with Starbucks.