Saturday, 25 February 2012

Spending a penny

I was in a pub earlier today where I was charged £3.01 for a pint of beer. Surely you would imagine someone in charge would look at that pricing – which presumably results from the rigid application of a mark-up formula – and realise how nonsensical it is. The extra costs in staff time and change handling must outweigh the tiny increase in revenue.

It makes no business sense nowadays to price beer in pubs at increments of less than 10p a pint. And, after the inevitable duty rises in the Budget, £3 for a pint of ordinary-strength beer in ordinary pubs will be that much more commonplace.

Pointless to name it, but both pub and beer were actually fine.


  1. "If it's not good business sense, people won't do it, will they?"

  2. Doesn't stop pubs doing plenty of other stupid things.

  3. Does seem somewhat stupid fidgeting
    with the odd penny
    However it pales into insignicance
    compared with the mind blowing
    dementia of those who still frequent the rip off ,half dead Inns.

    Of point a little
    3000+ London Police were used to
    check out pubs and clubs in London
    for certain violations,probably
    including old soldiers enjoying a puff in the lavs.

    Mama we're all crazee now.

  4. That is a strange one that doesn't sound thought through. But plenty of pubs still charge in 5p increments.

  5. I'll swap your £3.01 for my £3.80 any day. My X local did as you suggest and increased a pint in 10p increments. In fact it did 4 in one day and raised the price by 40p.
    Its now empty.

  6. 3 quid a pint? was it as the Protz would say "exceptionally good value?"

    A fool and his money and all that.

  7. Three quid a pint is pretty normal in some parts of the country.
    I agree with Mudge, getting your staff to handle pennies and having to count endless amounts of them at the end of every day is not really going to be worth it.
    When I cash up my till, I don't even bother with the pennies, I just chuck them into a pint glass. After three months of trading, I counted them out the other day, and it was just shy of three quid. It took me probably half and hour to do that, and then i had to carry the small weight to the bank.
    I hate to say it, but it's time to lose the coppers altogether. It's an issue that Britain will have to face sooner or later.

  8. I would say as a general rule:

    Spoons usually price their beer at £1.99, £2.49 or similar

    Managed and chain pubs are most likely to have oddly precise prices of £2.92 or £3.01

    Free houses almost invariably use 10p increments

    Tenanted and leased pubs vary between approaches 2 and 3

    Rounding doesn't necessarily make beer dearer - you win some and lose some. And, if your pub charges £3.00 rather than £2.97, and you drink ten pints a week, at the end of the week you're exactly 30p better off, which won't even buy you a bag of crisps.

  9. Just an hour ago i was in a bread store and coincidenally that cost was exactly 3.01. Another thought struck me that it takes the staff longer to count out 99p then a pound than that extra penny is worth.
    Wetherspoons are just being dicks with their pricing, but there's probably a subtle reason behind it, apart from the customers' subconscious imagining that the beer is cheaper than it actually is. At the end of a night, if your pocket is full of change (mostly 1p's and 2p's), you might be more inclined to buy another, thinking you had more money than you really do.
    And one additional personal thought. As Mudge says, our prices are in 10p increments. This makes us able to price a half exactly a half of a pint, without messing around with coppers. I am considering serving beer in 1/3 and/or 2/3 measures, but one thing I want to avoid is cumbersome prices. What's 2/3 of 2.90 ? 1.93r. I'm not a fan of pubs that round up fractions of a pint, and don't want to start doing it myself.

  10. It depends on whether you prefer the ease of "silver banding" for prices as my stock-taker calls it or if in the furtherance of the ubiquitous "transparency" required of businesses these days and you price according to the margin required.

    In high volume outlets rounding is not a case of "swings & roundabouts" as losing 3p a pint on the round downs is often more than the gains of the rounds up 2p on the nearest 5p increment.

    I don't think many customers would wear 10p increments, they are far too price aware than that.

    Personally I silver band but to 5p and on selected lines the round up is implemented even if only 1p over the lower increment.

    I think the days of people being fooled by the 9p ceiling on the 50p integer has long gone - I for one don't think 'oh that's cheap it's under £3' I just think it's a three quid pint. After all what can you buy for a penny - you can't even get a pee for that!

    But I have to agree £3.01 does seem a bit ridiculous.


Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval by the blog owner. See here for details of my comment policy.

Please register an account to comment. To combat persistent trolling, unregistered comments are liable to be deleted unless I recognise the author. If you intend to make more than the occasional comment using an unregistered ID, you will need to tell me something about yourself.