News & Media

Blog

Filter by
Posted by

Every week in pubs across the UK, customers sit down to observe a time-honoured ritual in which brows furrow, fingernails are chewed, adrenaline flows, tempers fray, defeat is bitter and victory tastes sweet: the pub quiz. For several decades this event has been a fixture of British life, and it remains as popular as ever.

So if you run a pub and have yet to venture into the world of the pub quiz, you might be pleasantly surprised by how straightforward it can be to run one - and by the upturn in your takings on quiz nights. Many pub landlords say that a pub quiz is much more profitable than, say, showing football on big screens: customers will come in to watch a big football match (which costs the pub a lot of money to show) and nurse a pint for two hours. Pub quizzers, on the other hand, like to drink.

The British have always loved quizzes: quiz shows have been a staple of radio and television since the birth of the media - the BBC’s Round Britain Quiz has been running since 1947. Our love affair with the pub quiz goes back to the 1970s, when a British company, Burns & Porter, seized on our appetite for quizzes and developed a nationwide business selling pub quiz questions and formats. Then in the early 1980s the board game Trivial Pursuit took off, further cementing our passion for general knowledge and obscure factoids. “Trivia” became an issue of vital importance. And the pub quiz has made its way on to television in the form of Al Murray’ Great British Pub Quiz, a series with celebrity guests show on the Quest channel.

How to run a pub quiz

If you’re new to the game, here are some tips and suggestions. The first is the most obvious: make it regular. If your customers know that, say, Thursday night is quiz night, they will be able to plan their visit and get their teams together and book a table. Once you’ve settled on a regular night, publicise it with posters, chalk boards and social media - your pub’s Facebook page can announce the event in advance, reveal who this week’s quiz will be hosted by, give the starting and finishing times, and so on.

If you don’t have the resources to host a pub quiz, there are plenty of specialist companies such as Question One that can be hired in to do it for you. They will supply questions, printed sheets for picture rounds, quiz hosts and even amplification equipment if required.

If you are happy to host your own quiz but require fresh questions every week, companies such as Redtooth will provide these at a modest cost. The costs can be partly covered by an entrance fee for each team (normally this is around £1-£2 per person), but your higher takings should more than make up for any extra expenditure.

If you decide to host your own quiz, it’s important to ask the questions slowly and clearly, and to repeat them. Be prepared to repeat them again if someone hasn’t heard them properly. Try to make it funny and relaxed. Music rounds and picture rounds help to keep things fresh and lively. Avoid using multiple-choice questions: people like to show off that they know the answer. If the answer is a number - say, “How many bones are there in the human body*” - you could accept answers within certain parameters.

Quiz leagues, too, operate in most parts of the country and can add interest and an extra competitive edge to your quiz nights.

Flexible pub furniture

It’s likely that you will need to re-arrange your pub furniture for a pub quiz. If you allow a maximum team size of, say, six people, this will mean grouping tables and chairs together or shifting them accommodate this. A flexible arrangement of chairs and tables that can be moved around and shunted together will make this easier.

How to prevent cheating at your pub quiz

The mobile phone has become the scourge of the quiz night, with a wealth of information available within seconds. The best policy is to politely but firmly announce before the quiz begins that all use of mobile phones is off-limits and that anyone seen using one will be assumed to be cheating and be disqualified from that round. This can be done in a friendly and humorous way, but the message should be clear: no phones. The answer papers for each round can be collected after the round has finished, to avoid contestants using breaks in the quiz to amend or add answers after a “trip to the loo”. If a team is spotted cheating, a quiet word rather than public humiliation is often more effective at ensuring that they comply.

Another solution is to use questions that rely on lateral thinking and cleverness rather than general knowledge: questions that ask, “What’s the connection between…”, or “What’s the odd one out?”, for instance. Some quiz hosts have even devised entire quizzes which they claim are “Google-proof”, though this is perhaps a bit of a stretch: quizzers are usually keen to show off their knowledge of geography, sport or music and might feel put off by this approach.

Other cheat-prevention methods include speed-quizzing - questions are asked quickly to prevent Googling, and answers are entered instantly on a digital device.

The charity quiz

As the festive season approaches, and people’s thoughts turn towards charity and giving, you could hold a pub quiz in aid of a chosen charity. Many charities such as Shelter and the British Heart Foundation have online resources, including downloadable questions and publicity posters, to help your quiz. You could include questions which are “themed” around your chosen charity. Customers are prepared to pay higher quiz fees if it’s for charity, and of course collecting buckets can be passed around.

Winners and losers

Finally, quizzers love nothing more than to know better than the quiz host, so you should also be prepared to fend off challenges to your answers. It might be advisable at the outset to stipulate that “the quiz host is always right”.

A few years ago a libel case arose from a pub quiz: in a Bedfordshire quiz, there was an argument about the answer to one question (it was about the hosts of the TV show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?). The quiz master was shown to be mistaken and acknowledged his error but he was nevertheless accused publicly by one of the competitors of being a “cheat”. The row escalated and the quiz master ended up with £5,000 award for libel damages.

It’s unlikely, though, that any argument is likely to escalate this far: quizzers are a competitive bunch, but they are likely to accept defeat with good grace.

Which brings us to prizes. Usually, these are not life-changing sums of money: a few pounds for first, second and third places, or you could award vouchers for food or drinks, redeemable at the bar. For quizzers, though, the actual prize will be less important than the taste of victory.

* A typical human body has 206 bones.

 

Enjoyed this article? Why not take a look at our other guides for pub landlords? Learn how to make your pub the perfect wedding venue, or the benefits of introducing afternoon tea for your pub. Whatever your plans, make sure you're kitted out with our quality pub furniture - it's what the punters deserve!

When hosting a corporate event, first impressions definitely count. Whether you’re attracting new clients or hosting existing ones, you want to make sure your event looks as professional as you are. With over 50 years of experience in commercial furniture, we’ve come up with a quick and easy guide for banqueting to ensure your corporate event is a success!

Choosing your banqueting tables

The type of table you choose for your corporate event has much more significance than you might initially realise, functionality is just as important as looks. Whilst square and rectangular tables provide a more intimate setting, large, round tables create a more sociable atmosphere, allowing guests to easily interact with others in the space and creating great opportunities for networking. At Trent, we have circular folding banquet tables starting at just £36.90, ranging from 92cm to 183cm diameter.

Choosing your banqueting chairs

Similarly, when choosing your banqueting chairs you should think about comfort as well as style. Ensuring your guests are comfortable will help keep them engaged and interested in any speeches or presentations being given at your event. For corporate events where your guests will be sitting for a long period of time, chairs with a padded back such as the Canterbury Steel Stacking Chair are ideal, whereas the Chiavari Stacking Chair may be more suitable for shorter periods. Our banqueting chairs are available with silver, gold or black frames, and we have a wide variety of fabrics for you to choose from, from bold patterns to neutral tones.

All of our banqueting furniture is foldable or stackable which, along with our table and chair trolleys, makes it easy to move from place to place, or store when not being used.

Making the most of your banqueting furniture

If you are going to be hosting multiple corporate events, think about buying banqueting furniture that will be suitable for any event, in any location. Whilst bright colours and patterns might create a striking look, more subdued and neutral fabrics work seamlessly wherever they are. We also offer removable seat pads that can be easily attached to any of our Chiavari or Henley style chairs, allowing you to quickly and cheaply change the look of your chairs, or just help keep them looking as good as new.

Choosing your venue

The most important part of choosing your venue is, of course, making sure it can comfortably hold the number of people you intend to invite, but also think about any additional needs you have. If you’re going to have any speeches or presentations at your event, have a look at any venues that have a raised platform or an accessible area of the room that can easily be seen by everyone. Finally, take into consideration any catering or bar facilities that are available, or if these will need to be outsourced from elsewhere.

Less is more

The way you use your banqueting furniture at your event is just as important as the type of furniture you decide to use. Make sure you don’t try to fit too many people around one table, as you want to give each guest their own personal space both on and around the table. This can also be done by keeping table decorations to a minimum, perhaps with just one simple centrepiece or flower arrangement. Likewise, you should limit the number of tables in the room as much as possible, allowing your guests to easily move about the room and between tables as they please.

For the last 40 years, we’ve been supplying our customers with the very best in commercial furniture. If you’d like more information about any of our products, contact us today!

More and more pubs across the UK are adopting a dog-friendly policy, even going as far as to put out signage, water and treats to entice four-legged friends. We’ve looked at the factors you might want to weigh up before deciding to go dog-friendly and should you go ahead, how to welcome dog owners and choose the best dog-friendly pub furniture options.

Should you go dog-friendly?

In a survey of the hospitality industry conducted by the Kennel Club, 98% of dog-friendly pubs believe that business has improved due to dogs being allowed on the premises. Many of these owners stated that they saw more social interaction between guests and an improved atmosphere when dogs are in their establishment.

Whilst many pubs are welcoming canines and the benefits they can bring with open arms, some are choosing not to go down this route citing reasons such as hygiene, children’s reactions to dogs and the possibility of badly-behaved pups. Britain’s largest pub chain JD Wetherspoon banned all non-service dogs from its premises back in 2018, explaining that this is because they welcome families with children who can be unpredictable around dogs or scared of them.

Before going dog-friendly, there are some key factors you need to consider:

  • Do you serve food? If so, you may want to consider if you’re able to provide an area where dog owners can eat with their pets away from other diners who may not want to eat around dogs.
  • Do you have a lot of young children visiting your pub?  Younger children can be unpredictable around dogs and sometimes scared of them, meaning dogs and children may not be the best mix. Again, a separate area for dogs and their owners may be the solution as parents then have the choice of sitting in a dog-free area if they have concerns.
  • Is it safe? If you serve food or hot beverages you may need to consider how much of a tripping hazard a dog could be to waiting staff. If this is the case, one solution could be to ask dog owners to keep their pets on a lead or ask them to keep dogs out of walkways for safety reasons.

 

Top tips for a dog-friendly pub

There are a few things you can do to both welcome dogs (and their owners) to your establishment and ensure no disruption or mess is caused.

  • Make water bowls available inside and outside
  • Add clear signage welcoming dogs
  • Add that dogs are welcome to your website and social media channels
  • Set out some free treats – a kind gesture that will let owners know you are dog-friendly
  • Ensure employees are aware that you are dog-friendly when asked by patrons
  • Decide on where dogs can sit with their owners – a designated area for dogs, or a designated area where dogs are not allowed will please both dog owners and those who don’t want to sit near animals. This can be especially important if you serve food in your establishment
  • Establish pet etiquette rules (you can share these on your signage and website).
  • Have dog-friendly furniture

 

Dog-friendly pub furniture

A dog friendly pub chair by Trent FurnitureThe best way to avoid any dog-related damage, scents or mess is to ask patrons to not allow their dogs to sit on furniture during their visit. However, you can go one step further by choosing dog-friendly furniture pieces, at least in the areas where dogs are allowed.

The most dog-friendly materials are varnished woods, metals and vinyl. Trent Furniture offers a range of chairs and tables in these finishes – from traditional oak dining chairs through to colourful metal seating with a retro vibe. These materials are easy to care for and can be wiped down with ease on a daily basis, so even if they gain a few mucky paw prints they can be cleaned up with minimal effort.

If you’re really concerned about table or chair legs receiving the occasional scratch or chew, then cast iron legs look fantastic in a traditional pub setting and are incredibly long lasting (and bite resistant!)

If you have soft furnishings in your restaurant, dog hairs and scent can be an issue. You may want to vacuum these soft furnishings more frequently and deep clean them as and when it is needed. Check out our full guide to cleaning furniture for more in-depth tips and instructions.

A dog friendly pub table by Trent Furniture

View our full range of pub furniture here.

New analysis from online reputation specialist Feed It Back has revealed that bar and restaurant customers give ‘satisfaction’ the lowest scores during the evening.

The statistics, which track customer satisfaction scores across breakfast, lunch and dinner time periods, showed that the overall satisfaction score of customers is lowest in the evening at 90.8%. This is followed by the lunchtime (92.4%); and breakfast (93.0%).

“The data shows that customers’ expectations are greater during the evening, with previous research indicating that the majority of special occasion bookings, such as anniversaries or birthdays, taking place at this time. With this in mind, it’s crucial that operators are acting on the feedback and tweaking elements of their offer, or providing additional training so they can positively influence the customer experience,” explains Carlo Platia, CEO of Feed It Back.

The scores are calculated based on customer feedback for six key metrics – food, drink, cleanliness, atmosphere, service and value. Atmosphere played a large part in scoring, with guests being most critical of this factor, followed closely by value.

When Feed It Back dug deeper into what featured frequently in lower scores, loud music was a clear problem for many diners in the evening. This data suggests that diners prefer a more relaxed environment during the evening. The atmosphere score over the lunchtime period was positively driven by the word ‘quiet’, supporting the idea that sometimes less is more when it comes to music in a restaurant.

“Often, subtle changes to the customer journey, such as turning down the volume of the music a few notches, can have a fundamental impact on whether customers would return.”

Alongside ensuring music is set to a reasonable volume, bar and restaurant owners can take other steps to ensure the atmosphere of their restaurant scores highly with customers. This atmosphere is made up of several factors including lighting, décor, seating arrangement and more. Visit the Trent Furniture blog for guides on creating the perfect restaurant atmosphere or explore our restaurant furniture range here.

Pubs and live music are natural partners. In a convivial gathering of people, lubricated by alcohol, it seems natural that music should be part of the picture. Over the centuries, music has played a central role in the life of British pubs, either in communal singing such as the sing-songs around the piano that used to be a fixture of working-class pubs, or in performances by singers and musicians.

The revival of folk music in the 1960s was focused on small clubs, cafés and pubs where travelling singers and musicians would turn up and play a session. When Paul Simon toured the UK in 1964, many of the small venues he played were pubs such as the Cross Keys in Liverpool, which still hosts live music.

Rock and roll bands such as The Rolling Stones learnt their trade playing pubs such as the Red Lion in Sutton, Surrey – now called the Winning Post – which has been preserved thanks to its link to the band’s history (they were spotted there by a promoter). The Who were regulars at the Railway Hotel in Wealdstone in their early years. Meanwhile in the 1970s, London’s pub rock scene emerged as an alternative to what were seen as bloated, out-of-touch arena bands. This tradition is kept alive today by bars such as Ain’t Nothin But the Blues in London’s Soho.

Today, as many pubs struggle to stay in business, pub owners are seeking ways to improve their offering and bring in new regular customers. Hosting live music has been shown to improve takings by up to 48 per cent. If it is a regular event, a music night at a pub can bring customers back week after week. Music can help to spice up cafés, too. And performance poetry is a growing phenomenon that could help to bring in customers.

 

Licence to entertain

So, what do pubs, bars and cafés need in the way of licensing if they want to host live music? In recent years, the law has become simplified to help smaller venues host live music without onerous restrictions. The key provision of the Music Act of 2012 – which was updated in 2015 – is that any premises can host amplified live music as long as the audience is under 500 people and it takes place between 8am and 11pm. Also, the premises must be alcohol-licensed. The law also applies to amplified recorded music, which means that DJs can play music to alcohol-licensed premises between 8am and 11pm to audiences of under 500 people. A licence is not required for unamplified live music at any place between the same hours – and there is no restriction on audience numbers for music that is not amplified. These rules apply to England and Wales; in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the laws differ.

It’s important, though, to check the terms of your premises licence. And it’s important, too, to make sure that any music performances that you host do not create a noise nuisance for neighbours. There used to be stipulations that doors and windows had to be kept closed; these no longer apply, but it’s still important to use common sense and consideration.

 

Dancing and wrestling

Other activities have also been de-regulated: you don’t need a licence for Morris dancing. And while this is unlikely to apply to most pubs, you don’t need a licence for a contest, exhibition or display of Greco-Roman wrestling, or freestyle wrestling, between 8am and 11pm before no more than 1,000 spectators.

In almost all of these examples, there is one kind of licence that is mandatory: a PRS PPL licence. This licence collects royalties on behalf of songwriters and performers and is essential if any kind of music is being played or performed in a public place. Until recently, two separate organisations were responsible for this, but now they have formed a joint venture, PRS PPL, and created a one-stop-shop for music licensing, which has simplified the process.

Poetry, meanwhile, is another increasingly popular form of entertainment for pubs and cafés. If you have a mental picture of wistful recitals of romantic verse, think again: today’s poetry “slams”, as they are sometimes called, are vigorous, dramatic and loud; poets take turns to come up and perform, rather than recite, their work, and audience participation is encouraged. Cafés have opened that specialise in poetry, such as the Poetry Café in London’s Soho, home of the Poetry Society, which hosts regular poetry events as well as live music.

 

The stage is set

So far, so good. What else does a pub, bar or caf  need to host live events? One important factor is furniture: your furniture layout needs to be flexible so that your pub and bar chairs and tables can be re-arranged and reconfigured to accommodate performers. Perhaps this would be an opportunity to explore stackable furniture. Today’s stacking furniture is lightweight but robust and easily stored away. A small stage or raised area would help, and when not in use it can be used as a regular seating area. Lighting and amplification equipment will also be needed. Live groups and bands will bring their own amplifiers, but they will normally need an in-house PA system to amplify vocals.

 

Finding the right performers for your pub

If you are holding a regular weekly blues night, say, or a folk evening or a poetry night, posters around your pub can advertise this, and your social media pages can also publicise events. Booking agencies such as Alive Network can put you in touch with a range of performers, from acoustic singer-songwriters to tribute bands. You could also ask your staff and customers if they know of any acts that could perform. Fees will vary, depending on the act and the number of performers: a five-piece band are unlikely to play for less than £300, but a solo singer-songwriter will command a much more modest fee, say £60, or perhaps less if free drink is offered. Increased takings at the bar, and possibly an admission fee for larger acts, should cover this.

In recent years there has been a rise in the number of music colleges offering courses in music performance and songwriting. If there is one of these colleges in your neighbourhood, you could approach them to see if they have any keen young performers looking to get experience of live performance.

 

Loud and quiet

Finally, remember that you will have regular customers who just want to sit and have a quiet chat or enjoy a peaceful pint. They may not appreciate their conversation or quiet contemplation being drowned out by loud music. So, unless you want to turn your pub or bar into a fully-fledged live music venue, don’t overdo the music. And it’s best to tailor the kind of music you host according to the audience: a deafening thrash-metal band might not go down well in a traditional country pub.

Perhaps the most fruitful way to go is the singer-songwriter. A singer with an acoustic guitar, or perhaps a piano, does not require sophisticated amplification or lighting (Elton John cut his teeth playing piano in a pub in Pinner), and will not drown out conversation. Nor will they require a large fee. Your customers can either cluster round and listen to the music, or sit on the fringes and chat. That’s how it will have been for Paul Simon when he was touring the UK back in the 1960s.

 

Do you have a story about how live performance made your pub come alive? Leave a comment below!

Sagepay Secure Payment Secure Payment