The Return of the Great British Pub (But Not As We Know It)

You’re in the pub, waiting to order at the bar. The person next to you has ordered before you despite you having waited longer. You say nothing but silently hope that something bad happens to their drink. There is something quintessentially British about the scene. But what if we could skip the queue? New research reveals that people are keen to abandon some old pub habits as we enter the new normal. 


Digital Ordering Systems at the Pub


When lockdown lifted, many pubs and bars across the country implemented digital ordering systems to adhere to social distancing. New research shows that 80% of pub-goers that have used such systems want pubs to keep the service available even after guidelines change. 

According to the study commissioned by Flipdish, almost two-thirds of respondents (63%) said they are now more likely to visit a pub or a bar with a digital app and over half (55%) would actually miss ordering drinks via an app if it stopped. The preference for digital ordering intensifies among younger demographics and women. Only one in seven (14%) of 18-24 year-olds surveyed prefer queuing at the bar and women are half as likely to do the same (11%) compared to the men (24%). 


Benefits of the Digital System


Customers that have experienced digital table ordering since lockdown say the top benefits are: not needing to queue (54%), not losing table and chairs (31%), not needing to remember a drinks order (30%), less interaction with staff and other members of the public (25%) and more time speaking to friends/family (23%).

According to respondents, the worst aspects about ordering at a bar pre-lockdown include: long queues (46%), people being unfairly served first (46%), getting sticky elbows from a wet bar (31%) and needing to shout over loud music (29%).

Conor McCarthy, CEO of Flipdish, said: “Landlords across the country turned to digital ordering to keep customers and staff safe. But, as the benefits become clear, what was first a lockdown safety measure is fast becoming the locals’ favourite. 


The Resilience of the Great British Pub


With pubs overcoming recessions, monarchies, and political eras, they are truly a symbol of British stoicism. Therefore, it’s likely to assume that this too shall pass. That being said, the digital era is leaving an indelible mark on how we interact, especially in the hospitality sector. What is clear is that the pub lives on; however, maybe not as we know it.