I really liked Prezzo, there I said it.
It always had some offer or other on, you could use Tesco clubcard vouchers too, the staff were always, without exception, polite, cheery and good at their job and the food was hot, reasonable and on time. They also did decent cocktails and catered well for children.
And now they are bust.
The mid market dining sector is in so much trouble it’s almost unbelievable and one of the reasons is that with our money needing to go ever further people would rather order in, and with Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo all happy to take our cash, why even bother going out when you can sit in your own living room, listen to your own music and drink wine that doesn’t cost forty quid?
And the drinks trade is suffering even worse.
We all read in the papers that pubs are closing at an “alarming” rate, in fact we have far too many pubs, people are drinking less some people have taken the frankly absurd notion to not drink at all and all for two reasons, money and health.
The days of guys sitting in pubs slowly drinking themselves to death by 50 is coming to an end and anyone grieving that is an idiot.
People are now wanting an experience when they go out, they don’t want some homophobic racist talking about poofs whilst pouring them a pint of rubbish lager (this actually happened to me in a pub in Govan recently). People want quality spirits, in nice glassware in a nice environment and those who want a cheap drink are just staying at home.
I can’t think of a more perfect example of this than two bars sitting beside each other in Govan, Glasgow.
One bar is owned and run by the aforementioned homophobic and racist guy, his half a dozen punters sitting staring at either Sky Sports news or their own souls staring back at them from their half empty pint glass. The pub is shit, it sells generic booze and isn’t even particularly cheap because nowhere is anymore.
The bar beside it has tarted itself right up, retro whisky advertising, large menu of cocktails, excellent selection of whiskies, rums and gin, pleasant, chatty staff and decent tunes, it’s something you’ll both remember and want to return too and guess what? It was heaving. And it’s the future, less bars, but better bars.
So how does the industry adapt?
Well for one thing the experience has to be 100% on point, I recently tried this nifty wee gimmick where you sniff some beakers containing various elements, fresh or dry grass, dried or fresh fruit etc and you take your preferences and it gives you the perfect Glenfiddich for you (mine was the 30 Year Old because I am a man of taste) but this could work for any drink or even cocktails and it’s a bit of fun.
Elsewhere we see vegan cocktails using chickpea water instead of egg white, it creates the thick foam you get in say a whisky sour, nice touch, huh?
People want hand made products, they want attention to detail and why shouldn’t we? As a consumer I see my money having to stretch further so not only do I want value for money I want attention to detail too.
One of the contributing factors to mid level priced chain restaurants going to the wall is Uber eats, where you can get restaurant food sent to your home rather than normal takeaways, maybe there is something there for the drinks market too, pre made cocktails are all the range so maybe drinks packages for house parties/ dinner parties and Friday night date night, or something.
Part of me laments the death of pubs, but that’s life and the good pubs will adapt and thrive.
Let’s see where it all ends up.