The music you play within your pub is as important as any other “design” feature in creating the atmosphere and identity you want. Juke boxes are an effective way of making music pay for itself (it is also a way of reducing the need for you to buy CDs or other forms of paid for music such as i-Tunes or Spotify, or other rented background music systems). The latest models can download an almost limitless selection of music tracks from the internet, again a phone line is needed but should the operator will deal with this.
Your operator or landlord can advise you on the best choice of jukebox to suit your venue, customers and budget.
Top tip is whichever system you choose ensure that there is sufficient “free play” for you to use when the pub is quiet and that repeat selection of the same track is limited by the system. There’s nothing better than being able to put some music on free of charge at quiet times or to please a specific customer and nothing worse than “Hey Ho Silver Lining” played 20 times on the trot!
If you have enough space, a pool table could make a fantastic addition to your pub. The advantages of having one are well known, but the most salient thing you need to remember is that not many people have a pool table at home and pubs are a popular choice of venue for playing pool. (See my guide on Pool Tables).
There is a huge selection of vending machines, selling anything from sanitary goods and condoms to sweets and toys, liver salts to sewing kits, for you to choose from.
The Automatic Vending Association will be able to advise you of selected suppliers in your area that will provide you with a quality service and a huge variety of choice. The vending offer is constantly growing, providing endless options so keep abreast of those that will suit your pub and get them in!
Remember vending machines are not just for the toilets; there are many that sit nicely on bars or other shelved areas that will over time add a pretty penny to your machine income.
Now The Ciggy Machine Has Gone …
With the demise of cigarette machines in pubs, an additional income stream has been removed, selling cigarettes behind the bar will offer you more profit per packet than the commission you will have received from a vending machine company but it is fraught with other problems. You will have to consider that you will have on display a highly valuable and highly portable line of stock that is a favourite for burglars (and shrinkage). Stocking a high level of tobacco may involve an increase in your insurance premiums and insurers might insist they are displayed/stored in a lockable cabinet. You will also need to go to your cash and carry to keep them stocked up and if you are very strapped for cash then they will represent a significant amount of working capital tied up in stock.
Top Tip for you credit crunchers and recession busters is to at least keep a stock of rolling tobacco, cigarette papers/tips behind your bar as more and more cost sensitive smokers switch to hand-rolling their own. You’re not allowed to display these products, but you can have a sign up saying you stock them.