Last Saturday, my youngest went out for a hack with her young friend. We walked through Burnham Beeches and arrived at the Blackwood Arms, a Brakspear pub hidden away in Burnham (even though the address says Slough)
We all know that the pub business has suffered greatly over the years. Has seen business fall away and has had to develop ways of making more money. Very similar to the airline business. Falling income, need to improve profits against strong headwinds...
So, how is the approach of the UK licensed trade different to that of the airline business?
In order to attract trade old and new, the Blackwood Arms has a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The pub serves a variety of beers which are changed from time to time, serves excellent food, offers a wide range of inviting snacks, offers free dog biscuits, offers clean water bowls set outside for dog walkers, offers newspapers to read, free of charge, cheap sweets are offered for those bringing children, staff are super-friendly and nothing is too much trouble. Outside (as you will observe) there is a place to tie up your pony, a mounting block for getting back on again and even, free hay. The pub, needless to say, is busy.
What would the pub be like, if it was run by an airline? Well, there would be no free papers, food would be bought-in sandwiches with little variety, there would only be enough sandwiches the pub thought it could sell, so if you arrive later in the day, you would have to make do with a packet of Pork Scratchings. No dog biscuits and certainly no hay. You could tie up your horse on payment of a fee as you would need to do if you wanted a table and a specific table would carry an extra surcharge. A table near the window, would be the most expensive. You pay for your drink, which comes in a plastic bottle; if you want a glass, there is a "wash-up" fee to pay (which you can avoid by bringing your own glass). If you wish to sit in the garden, then there would be a "table cleaning fee" as the staff have to walk further and those staff would spend their time trying to sell you something you didn't want, rather than providing what you asked for.
Oh! And we would need to push the table and seats much, much closer together, to fit more of the "basic drinkers" into the available "non-eating" space.
Maybe airline executives should get out more and visit some successful pubs. They may learn something.
In the meanwhile, lets be grateful that Brakspear don't employ former airline executives as brewery area managers.