The team at Rutters will testify that prices have changed over the last 40 years. Long before spreadsheets were being used on computers the cost of “whatever” was a whole lot less than today. But (I hear you say) it’s all relative. I mean, what were we earning back then? Jon Rutter will tell you that the numbers are different but in effect the percentages are about the same. A barrel of beer yields “x” number of pints and the mark-up needs to be “y” and so on.
Wouldn’t it be great to get a barrel today at the price charged 45 years ago? That would be unheard of, or at least, someone would have made a monumental miscalculation. So can you imagine the reaction when Francis and Margaret Brierley were invited to spend ten days at their favourite hotel for the price they would have paid in 1969. Well, they had been regulars and had visited 90 odd times, so the Dolan Group’s Chairman thought it would be nice to say “thanks for the support” and hand them a 92% discount, saving them a massive £1,920! Not too shabby.
That type of discount is much more than any “loyalty card” programme will give – but then how many folk with loyalty cards keep going back to the same place for close on 50 years? What’s also rather nice, is that the Brierley’s didn’t have a loyalty card system that they were working on to try for bigger discounts or freebees. They just liked the place.
What would be interesting to know is how many pubs, restaurants or clubs have regulars coming back time after time but who go unnoticed by the owner. And do the staff tell the owners that Mr “so and so” is back again. And if the owners do know, do they sometimes hand the loyal patron a bit of a discount or complimentary drink or dessert as a thank you? The stocktakers will always factor in a few freebees for the loyal supporters, I’m sure, while they’re helping the owner plan and strategise his business to make it efficient.
The type of regulars that some places don’t want, though, are the type that just use the available facilities and then make themselves scarce. The Queen Victoria in Essex has figured that one out though – they’ve scuppered the efforts of the sneaky car-park-users by introducing a number-plate recognition system where the patron signs in to the premises on a screen as he enters and his car is then welcome. Those cars not signed in, as it were, will get fined. So in a way, I suppose that the regulars are getting some thanks in that they can continue to park for free.
Isn’t technology wonderful? Without even trying it is possible to identify the non-regulars by their car numbers and the regulars by their sign-ins. But I’m sure the Brierley’s are just thankful for the personal touch they received. The many sign-ins they did were in books and with pens. Not on computers with touch screens.