Children In The Beer Garden
If you have an outside area, such as a beer garden, have you considered the addition of some basic play equipment? This can be as simple as a giant Jenga set or (budgets permitting) slides or climbing equipment. Providing your younger customers with outside activities is as important as those you provide inside your premises.
As with any provision you make for children you need to adequately assess the risks associated with any equipment or activity you provide, including approaching your insurer to ensure that these provisions are covered in your Public Liability Insurance Policy.
Any parent that gets the time to enjoy their meal in relative peace, whether inside the pub or outside, (let alone other customers) will thank you and remember your pub as going that extra mile for them and become repeat customers.
If you are really going to make the most of children in the pub then you should consider offering Children’s Parties.
If you have a separate room (skittle alley, snug bar, function room etc) then providing a bespoke party solution for these important consumers can boost your trade. The pubs that cater for families with children and other specialist children’s party venues offer food, play and goody bags, along with invitation packs and good deals with local children’s entertainers. A word of caution when dealing with entertainers and children – make sure that any entertainer you recommend has a recent enhanced CRB check.
Themed parties with a disco are as popular with children as they are with adults and most mobile DJ’s will be glad of additional afternoon or early evening bookings to fill their diaries and may well charge less for these events than they normally would.
With a little imagination you could easily put together a children’s party pack … you’ll be surprised how few venues in your area will be providing these additional services.
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Pub Visits Are Becoming Increasingly Family Affairs
New research from The NPD Group finds when Britons do visit the pub, it’s increasingly a family oriented. Adult-only visits have been declining at the rate of 1.2% on average since 2009, a trend that was accelerated last year when the decline jumped to -2.7%. In contrast, parties with kids of all ages have enjoyed increases. The desire to eat as a family or spend time as a family is increasingly being cited as a primary motivation for visiting the pub. Visits for this reason accounted for 14.2% of all visits in 2012, up 2.3% on 2011.
Guy Fielding, director of business development for The NPD Group, says:
“The way people visit the pub has undergone a significant change in recent years as impromptu visits and an emphasis on drinking have given way to planned, family outings where food takes centre stage. So in terms of building business, pubs need to work hard to adapt their offerings to cater for this family food formula and ensure that their product and service offerings are sufficiently differentiated from the rest of the casual dining market in order to achieve growth in this competitive field.”
Insights firm Technomic has reported that UK pubs and restaurants operators are becoming more creative with UK kids’ meals – adding more-healthly side dishes, offering scaled-down portions of adult mains and reformulating classics.
Examples of re-made classics include: Jamie’s Italian: Puppy Dog – “herby” organic sausages, grilled and served in a soft sweet roll with tomato relish and baked crinkle-cut wedges, accompanied by “shake me salad” and fresh fruit juice; Table Table: Hetty’s Special Spaghetti – organic lean minced beef, onion, carrot, tomato, pea, basil and baby-length spaghetti; Wagamama: Mini Ramen – noodles in a chicken-and-pork soup, topped with grilled chicken breast, seasonal greens, carrot and sweet corn; Fire & Stone: Macaroni Cheese – with Parmesan and Cheddar sauce, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach, topped with toasted breadcrumbs
Top Tips for children in pubs – invest in some child-sized cutlery and make sure you have fruit and at least one sugar-free drink on your menu
As much as being family friendly can help a pub, so too can being a pub for adults only. One of the most successful community pubs in my neighbourhood has made the conscious decision to prohibit under 18s, without exception. There are many who believe that pubs should be adult-only premises, so providing a child-free venue can be a winner. By making this part of the pub’s USP the licensee of my local has created a vibrant and successful business, where adults can relax and socialise without the inevitable interruptions the presence of children bring; added to the advantage of seldom having to worry about any under-age drinking going on. It is certainly an option one might consider.
Children In Pubs… what the law says
The general principle is children are permitted to work in pubs subject to checking with the relevant local authority there is no by-law in place that prohibits this. The only issue that arises in licensing terms is when they are involved in the sale of alcohol.
This is not problematic if they are working in a restaurant or in an area of a pub, for example, which is specifically set aside for the consumption of alcohol in the company of a meal.
In any drink-led premises or area of premises, the situation is different and each individual sale made by the person under the age of 18 must be specifically authorised by a responsible person ie, someone who is over the age of 18 and has been properly trained in respect of the legal responsibilities associated with the sale of alcohol… your bar-staff.
With regard to whether children may be present as customers on licensed premises, there are some general principles that apply but may be overridden by specific conditions on the premises licence in question.
The general principles apply only to unaccompanied customers aged under 16.
In premises where the sale of alcohol is permitted, unaccompanied under-16s are permitted to be on the premises except between 12midnight and 5am. This would apply, for example, to a restaurant.
Where the premises is drink-led ie, primarily used for the sale of alcohol (for example, a pub that does not serve food) then they are not permitted on the premises at all.
Those general principles may be further overridden by specific conditions on the premises licence.
Many pubs ofer food trade during the day and, therefore, it may be argued to be non-drink-led and, as such. At a stretch it might be argued that unaccompanied under-16s would be permitted in the premises until midnight. That could be overwritten by a condition on the licence that prohibits unaccompanied under-16s from, say 7pm or 9pm, if responsible authorities felt the nature of the premises changed during the course of the early or mid-evening such that it would be an inappropriate environment for children.
As always, it is important to be aware of the general legal position as well as the specific conditions on any licence. Breach of either the general principles or of any specific condition can lead to potential prosecution through the courts and, equally, a review of the premises licence with a range of consequences including in the worst cases, revocation.
To be sure of the licensing law relating to children click here
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