Time to Meet?

I had a chat with a customer the other day. She’s not from this area and said how surprised she was that the local pubs and bars didn’t work together that much, not so much in terms of borrowing the odd gas cylinder or keg of lager on a Sunday when the supplier was shut but more in terms of promoting the local area, talking about local issues or generally offering each other support.

I’m a member of a couple of networking groups, groups that bring together local business owners to look at how we can as a group promote our locality. It’s been great, I’ve met some helpful people, even got some business out of it and there are many cross overs but I’ve always been surprised at how few pubs, clubs and other hospitality providers there have been there.

Are we out of the loop somehow?

I know we work odd hours and that can impact on what time we’re around – I’ve been invited to breakfast meetings (not a hope when I’ve been up till after 1am), invited to evening events (nope, working behind the bar that night), daytime events (sorry, that’s when I’m out delivering beer!). Even within our industry, some of us work 9 to 5, some 24-7 so it’s hard to fit a meeting in especially when you’re not even sure it’ll be of any benefit.

I know there used to be groups like the licensed victuallers (I had to google whether they still existed and apparently, they do!) but if they’re around this area I’ve never been invited (sob) – I’m sure some of you are members of hotel specific groups, some of you may be members of Cumbria Tourism or other such associations – I’d love to know if you find this helpful? What are the good bits? What are the bad bits?

For me, cost and time are huge implications – it’s got to be something really good and I have to see what I can get from it.

There are 2 groups that I have contact with that I’m hoping I can work with to set something up that may be useful to publicans – one is Carlisle Ambassadors and the other is The Guild, a new venture set up to help food and drink producers in the area.

I think both places have the ability to offer something that could be quite special.

Do you network? If you do or don’t, why or why not? Is there anything you would find useful if you had access to people in the same industry as you? Could you offer anything to others?

I will come back to this topic soon once I have a few things firmed up!