Lead us not into temptation - 'Dry January'
I wholeheartedly support Paul Pavli’s “Try January” in response to the increasing trend of the nation to do “Dry January” in reaction to the excesses (particularly of alcohol) over the festive season. “Dry January” – while a worthy fund raiser for a charity very close to my heart - Cancer Research UK - gives the nation the idea that not only must they boycott the booze aisle in the local supermarket – but also at all costs avoid those ‘sin centres’, pubs - where the temptation to break the resolution will be too great. It’s one thing to simply avoid the last few aisles (although you can bet your bottom dollar the super’s merchandising geniuses will be placing alcohol all round the stores), it’s quite another to imagine a whole evening surrounded by the stuff and a host of imbibers – saying “go on – just one wont hurt!”
Well here’s the thing – ‘Try January’ – encouraging punters to try soft drinks and all that is brilliant – but how much effort will licensees really put into it? The truth is it will need a lot more than a few fruit juice cocktails to lure the January-pious-healthy from their homes.
What’s the answer to fill your pub in Jan? The secret is to put yourself firmly in the shoes of the would-be healthy-life resolutioners. What do they want? It’s quite simple. They want an easy way to go out and not be tempted to break their diet with a cake, break their tee-totalling with a shot, or even ruin their detox with a coffee. That is what they want – and once you understand this you can get them out of their gyms and homes and putting their money in your till. The UK diet industry is worth over £2 billion – a sure sign that people will part with their hard-earned in search of a better thinner, healthier life.
So why then are pubs so resistant to embracing no booze, low cal and healthy activities?
How hard is it to make a non-diet busting menu containing superfoods and imaginative low calorie dishes? Not hard at all, it just takes a bit of effort and imagination. It’s well recognised that the secret of any successful menu is to provide food that people find difficult to recreate at home, this is even more the case with diet food – home dieting is miserable - all that calorie counting and lack of imagination resulting in ghastly lettuce concoctions and Ryvita.
Dry January provides an opportunity to shine with carefully constructed exciting healthy menu superfood dishes, veggie options – a massive range of juicing and smoothies rather than just the tired old lemonade and lime option.
Smart operators, who bothered to make healthy alternatives to their normal menus, came up with some fresh and delicious healthy drinks and spent time building their databases during 2014, will be able to craft some really pertinent messages to their 11 months a year boozers, one month a year abstainers – to let them know they are still loved and valued – even though they’re dieting and off the grog.