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Pub Refurbishment: Making the Customer Experience Great

The pub refurbishment process is a delicate balance of the customer experience and the necessary work needed to transform a pub establishment to a viable, profitable hospitality business. A great customer experience will help your customers enjoy their time with you, while new features such as improved ambience and new furniture will make them want to come back again soon. As such, it’s important for pub owners to understand what makes a good customer experience, and how to carry out a customer journey flow that ensures their customers enjoy themselves comfortably.

A comfortable, consistent pub and dining experience

The Thatched Tavern commissioned all building works, signage, branding, menus and their website from Fruition Design. This offers a uniquely consistent customer journey, from first exploring the website, through the completely redesigned and renovated premises – even the wallpaper is handmade by the same designer that crafted the menu. It’s a cohesive approach that is comfortable and reassuring for customers, made bespoke for The Thatched Tavern and no one else.

Creating the ultimate Devon country pub experience at The Thatched Tavern

The Thatched Tavern is kitchen-led

Expanding the pub garden by 25% this year has led to an increase to 200 covers, however, being kitchen-led, they never book more than 10 people in each 15 minute period to allow the kitchen time to freshly prepare each meal bespoke for that customer. This approach means that each customer enjoys fresh, locally sourced food prepared to the highest standard, with a seamless, relaxed and comfortable service experience.

The pub is more than a refurbishment – it’s a team

The tavern encourages team development through a fully funded apprenticeship scheme with eight team members qualifying for supervisor, chef, and operations management roles. Training days educate staff about the wine list, and provide the opportunity to taste every dish, underpinning our passion for fine food and drink while bringing every team member along on the journey.

Thinking through the lens of the customer experience

Not every customer will come to your pub for the same experience, so you need to imagine the likely customer scenarios:

  • Some customers will want to stand at the bar;
  • Some will want to be highly social;
  • Some people want to tuck themselves away in a corner by the fire and be left alone; and
  • Others will have to want a relaxing meal in comfort

It’s critical to make sure you create all those spaces and understand how all those customer activities (and more) will happen – so when they’re occurring next to one another, they don’t clash.

Pouring a pint
Pub menu

Tips from Fruition

If you put a low sofa next to a bar, with everyone stood at the bar, the people who are sat down are overseen or overlooked by the people at the bar.  Top tip: Try and keep any area where there’s lots of standing interaction up high, for example, by using poseur tables.

Understanding what the customer wants

We all have our own tastes and preconceptions (which is perfectly natural), but it’s a lot easier once you understand what the customers will want, what will bring people through the door, and what will make them feel welcome. It isn’t about what type of pub I like, or what the client likes, but rather about what’s best for the customer experience.

Looking at acoustic comfort

The other thing that you think about when you assess a space or a scheme is to look at lighting and acoustics, because those are all things that are not immediately obvious that can make a massive difference to people’s comfort.

With regard to heating, you could be too hot in a window of blazing sun, next to a radiator, or chilly near a draughty door or window. When you can’t see what you’re doing or it’s too bright, they’re all factors that destroy the ambience, and therefore must be considered factors within the customers experience.

Understanding your pub customer

Fruition brings a lot of pub refurbishment experience in terms of understanding the customer experience – and realising that not everyone wants to have the same things.

Pub patron
Gastropub food

Everyone is different

Not everyone’s like me and not everyone’s like my client. Customers will always have different expectations, and also people want different things at different times. First, understand who your customer is, then create a place, create an event or a thing that they’re going to want.

Customer experiences cannot simply be copied

You can’t take a London pub refurbishment concept into Devon and drop it down here without understanding what works within the Southwest. Some things will function in certain locations and not others, and it’s all about finding the right balance and understanding your customer.

Top tips for understanding the customer journey in your pub

  • Talk to your customers
  • Understand how they behave, what’s important to them and the types of experience that will bring them back.
  • Map out places you think are critical for engagement with their customer journey; perhaps an area where people can be social or sit down quietly by themselves – but also areas that allow completely separate activities like eating to take place without interruption.
  • Keep in mind factors such as noise, lighting and comfort when refurbishing your pub – these can all make a huge difference to the customer experience.
  • Be aware that what works for one pub might not work for another – understanding your local market is key.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Fruition Design is more than happy to give you advice and guidance on all aspects of pub refurbishment and customer experience design.

Creating the ultimate Devon country pub experience

A great customer experience will help your customers enjoy their time with you, while new features such as improved ambience and new furniture will make them want to come back again soon.

We want to hear from you

Contact us for a free on-site consultation, where we will listen to you, and help you bring your pub refurbishment project to reality. Ring us on 01803 295959 or email us at studio@fruition-design.co.uk for a same day response.