Pub charges customers 30 cents more per pint if they order at the bar

  • The Coronation pub in Bristol has introduced a two-tiered pricing system
  • Landlord wants to encourage ordering drinks via QR codes from their tables
  • He believes the concept will result in ‘no hassle’ and ‘no queues’ at popular locations

Queuing at the bar for a pint can make that cool lager or beer taste all the sweeter.

But at The Coronation the drinks also become more expensive.

Landlord Ben Cheshire is trying to break the tradition of competing for the attention of bar staff at the bar by introducing two-tiered pricing – encouraging customers to order at their table, using a QR code.

Customers who want to order from the Bristol boozer’s bar will now pay up to 30p per pint more than those who order from the online menu.

It means a pint of Southville Session house lager will cost customers £3.50 at the bar – but only £3.20 if they order via the QR code.

Cheers for that: Landlord Ben Cheshire of The Coronation in Bristol has introduced a two-tiered pricing system to encourage customers to order via their smartphone, and not at the bar
Customers who insist on ordering from the Bristol boozer’s bar now pay up to 30p per pint more than those who order from the online menu

A pint of Korev lager costs £4.20 at the bar or £4 at the table, while Guinness costs £5 at the bar or £4.80 at the table.

A pint of Proper Job, the Cornish ale, costs £3.50 if you order it online, instead of £3.80 at the bar.

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But even at this higher figure, The Coronation’s prices still compare favorably with pints elsewhere in the city and beyond.

According to the latest ONS data from last month, the average price of a pint of lager in Britain is now £4.71.

But a survey published two weeks earlier by trade newspaper The Morning Advertiser found that the average price for lager is now £4.98, and the average total cost of a pint is £4.94.

Mr Cheshire said his two-tier system also applies to spirits such as Captain Morgan rum.

Measures are 10p cheaper via the QR code for a single and 20p cheaper for a double.

“The app gives the pub a nice atmosphere, there are no queues at the bar, no hassle at the bar and you don’t have to pause your drink to go up to order,” Mr Cheshire said.

‘Food has the same price, there is no difference.

‘It is mainly for young people and for large groups.

‘It’s about people trying. And if they don’t like it, they can continue to use the bar.’

Younger crowd: Ben Cheshire insists the idea doesn’t discriminate against older people and said his clientele has become younger since Covid

Mr Cheshire rejected suggestions that the practice was discriminatory against older customers, who may find such technology – which was widely introduced during the Covid pandemic when table service was introduced to minimize human interactions – difficult to use.

Speaking to The Telegraph, he said: ‘I completely lost all my older audiences overnight when everything had to go to ‘service only’ during Covid. I haven’t seen them since.

“For years I’ve had older audiences here, catering to them, hosting private events for them and things like that, so that’s not the angle I’m trying to advocate here.”

The 39-year-old said the clientele at the pub in the Southville area had become much younger since the pandemic and the digital system also eased the burden on his staff.

Happy hour: Pubgoer Tristan Grembrow thinks the new concept is a ‘great idea’ for the location

He said dealing with customers could be “mentally exhausting” during an eight-hour shift, and the digital system made things easier for himself and his staff.

Customers at the bar tonight were broadly happy with the opportunity to save money by ordering from their phones.

Tristan Grembrow said: “I think it’s a great idea, it’s clearly working for them as a bar.

“I’m 33 and it works for me.”

Lee Cross, 59, said: “I remember it was just apps in a lot of places – it’s not like it’s the only way you can buy a drink.

“The devious thing is, when it’s busy, you can grab a table, have a drink and there’ll still be loads of people in line.”

Another customer, Rich, 36, said: ‘I think it’s just simpler – people can order on their own time.

‘Some people really don’t like waiting in queues, it’s cheaper and more convenient this way.

‘A fellow patron, who also gave only her first name, Sarah, aged 34, said: ‘We come here on Fridays as a group – sometimes we order via the app.

“It’s just really quick to get things on the app.”

Cheshire’s decision comes as pubs have faced rising staff and energy costs due to the economic shock of the pandemic.

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The number of pubs in Britain has been slowly declining for decades, but 1,500 pubs closed their doors between 2020 and 2023, according to the British Beer and Pub Association.

Another 600 could follow this year, the association said.

Mr Cheshire has introduced unusual events in a bid to boost footfall, including a pottery session on Saturdays and a fortnightly Dungeons and Dragons evening, where customers come dressed up to play the fantasy role-playing game.

The publican said the online system is perfect for activities where customers don’t have to leave their seats, while customers also order more this way as they tend to explore the full drinks menu.

But despite his best efforts, it seems that old customs – and traditions – struggle to survive.

Mr Cheshire said 90 per cent of his customers still choose to order at the bar, even though staff often tell customers it is cheaper to pay from their table.

Emma McClarkin, CEO of the British Beer and Pub Association said the “cost efficiencies” brought about by the technology are “very welcome and much needed.”

She added: ‘In pubs, the greater use of all different types of technology has accelerated since the pandemic and is being embraced by all consumers, especially younger consumers.’

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