Tuesday 24 April 2012

Walking Distance ... a step too far?

Whilst idling away a few moments during the Levinson Inquiry testimony of James Murdoch … zoned out a bit … saw a brilliant concept on Twitter

And it got me thinking about how pubs could incorporate a walking distance menu in to an organised charity event or cross-pollination marketing drive for their business.

Sustainability and local sourced produce, provenance and reduced food miles are important influencers for many consumers, none more so than in the pub trade; so tapping into the Lifestyle Of Health And Sustainability (LOHAS) consumer segment might be a great way to enhance your pub's USP and increase footfall.

Whilst this might be a bit "chicken and egg", I am of the egg first camp … i.e. you have to hatch the egg first … so why not get online and look at the Big Barn website and see what local producers and growers are listed in your area and create a menu from as many of their products as possible. Add some local beer, cider or wine and you have the basis for a walking distance offering.

Now use Google Maps Walking Planner to plot a walking route from A to B to C etc that incorporates as many suppliers (and other points of local interest) that you can. Next … take a break from the pub and go out for a walk and look to see what else can be foraged along the way … for instance berries, edible flowers, mushrooms, wild garlic etc and add those ingredients to your nascent walking distance menu.

For a guide to what might be available check out this handy foraging calendar and this resource
for loads of advice on foraging.

All you need to do now is plot your route and make an estimate of the time it would take for an average walker at, say, 3 mph to traverse the route from and back to your pub, say, 90 minutes maximum.

The menu and the planned walk would make a great basis for a sponsored walk or for customers to follow … hopefully to work up a (wo)man-sized appetite for all that lovely food you are going to offer and a thirst for the local ales you stock.

Just as an example here is the Big Barn Map for the Bladebone Inn

OK so some of the suppliers may not be walk-able except for dedicated yompers but just look at the number of local suppliers the Bladebone Inn has … including a place that offers courses on foraging, a local "open farm" (working farm that does tours etc), a local brewery, local markets, butchers …

It works for urban pubs too …

For instance points of local interest are a local history trail through the neighbourhood that the local council promotes and signposts … and plenty of local suppliers including an award winning butcher who only uses farm assured stock

With a little imagination and a little effort you too could create a walking distance concept for your pub.

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