It’s a role made famous by Al Murray, but the nation’s real-life pub landlords are the genuine superstars when it comes to knowing the communities they serve. Almost three quarters (72%) of pub managers, polled by Greene King Locals division, believe they know more people locally than the average resident. And a super-confident 63% say they’re fountains of knowledge when it comes to neighbourhood nous.
What’s more, over half (53%) say they can name three quarters of their regulars. And it doesn’t take long to become a part of the pub family. The poll shows that, on average, it takes just over five visits for a pub general manager to remember a new customer’s name.
Greene King Locals, a network of 600 plus community pubs, is launching a training programme to teach landlords extra memory tricks and confidence skills so they can get to know their customers even better. They will become even more connected with their neighbourhoods and able to make visitors feel extra welcome.
Landlord Knowledge is an online training programme named after The Knowledge - the London black cabs test. It looks at a variety of pub events and regular occurrences - from mental health-led scenarios, such as how to spot anxiety and depression in customers, through to ways to diffuse aggressive situations and topped up with fun memory tests to remember those all-important rounds of drinks.
Coronation Street star Catherine Tyldesley, who played barmaid Eva Price on the soap - said of Greene King Local’s new training programme: “There really is so much more to working behind a bar than pulling pints, so I think the Landlord Knowledge is a brilliant idea. Eva certainly could have benefitted from the training during her time in Weatherfield, where she worked behind two bars – the Rovers Return and Nick’s Bistro. I also worked as a barmaid, in real life, before I joined Corrie. I would have been a much better one, had I completed this training.
“Having expert guidance on how to up your knowledge on customers – as well as knowing how best to manage conversations and situations – will do wonders to make the customer experience even better. It would also have diffused many of the brilliant plotlines that were played out in the pub.”
Terry Rigg, landlord of The Fox & Pheasant, a Greene King Locals pub in Stoke Poges, said: “We’ve always recognised the importance of our pub general managers in the local communities they quite literally serve, so we’re delighted to be rolling out The Landlord Knowledge training across our 600-strong network of pubs.
“We know that our customers always feel welcome in our pubs – and that our pub managers have their fingers on the pulse when it comes to what’s going on in the lives of those who love a visit to their local - but there’s always more that we can do to make the experience even better for everyone.”
Pub managers are on hand to listen to their customers too. The poll found that half of pub regulars are likely to discuss their worries at the bar. The most common concerns discussed are work (48%) followed by relationships (20%). However, a quarter of pub managers questioned said they don’t feel comfortable giving advice, with a third saying they’d welcome more training to help them talk about customers’ concerns and worries with more confidence and compassion.
Pop in a see for yourself. Find your nearest participating pub (and landlord!) here.