How can competitive socialising benefit pubs in the UK?

Pubs have faced their fair share of challenges in recent years. Rising costs due to inflation, changing consumer habits due to COVID-19, and the cost of living have taken their toll. However, there is a new trend emerging that can be utilised by venues to bring back the buzz to pubs across the country: Competitive Socialising.

What is competitive socialising?

Simply, it’s the act of playing a game with others in a social setting such as a pub. It’s all about bringing people together for fun and friendly competition. Some of the most common examples include bowling escape rooms, axe throwing, darts, pool and shuffleboards. These games can all be enjoyed alongside a few drinks and are designed to bring friends and family together.

There has been a shift, especially among younger generations who don’t just want to sit still whilst on a night out. The switch from passive spectating to active participation is something the new generation of customers is looking for.

Why is it good for pubs?

Whilst bowling,  escape rooms and axe throwing are not exactly fit for the pub setting, other games are making their way into pubs across the country. But why is this such a good thing for your pub?

  • Increased footfall: Competitive activities attract new demographics, especially younger customers and groups looking for something a little bit different.
  • Extended dwell time: Naturally, people stay longer when they’re engaged and having fun, therefore, boosting revenue from both food and drinks.
  • Higher spending: Competitive socialising often involves a cost to hire/use the equipment. This leads to increased average spend per customer. Also, people are likely to come and play in larger groups meaning more opportunity for sales.
  • Enhanced atmosphere: Being known as “the place to be” has a fantastic effect on creating a fun and vibrant atmosphere that draws people in, not just to play the games but even just to have a drink.
  • Community building: Pubs have always been a hub of teh community, something that was slightly lost during the pandemic. Utilising competitive socialising means you pub can become a hub for social interaction once again.

Challenges and considerations:

It is important to note that this kind of entertainment is not right for every pub. Here are some of the sticking points.

  • Finding the right space and activities: Not every pub has the space or resources to implement competitive socialising. Also, making sure you choose the right activities is crucial to match the appetite of your local customers.
  • Licensing and regulations: Depending on the activities offered, additional licenses or permits may be required. For games such as darts and pool, that have already been in pubs for years, this shouldn’t be an issue!
  • Maintaining a balance: Competitive socialising isn’t for everyone. Segmenting areas of your pub for both relaxation and fun is an important consideration to have.

Overall, competitive socialising presents a promising opportunity for pubs across the country to attract new customers, boost revenue, and create a more vibrant and engaging atmosphere. By embracing this trend and adapting it to their unique offerings, pubs can ensure they remain the heart of the community in the years to come.

If you are interested in knowing more about how SX Leisure can help you offer competitive socialising in your venue, get in touch with our team! –