9 Ways to Prepare Your Restaurant or Bar Business for Wimbledon

Please note that this article is intended for educational purposes only and should not be deemed to be or used as legal, employment, or health & safety advice. For guidance or advice specific to your business, consult with a qualified professional.

When it comes to maximising revenue for your London restaurant, pub or bar, a certain SW19 lawn tennis tournament could be the ace up your sleeve.

Held over two weeks in summer each year, Wimbledon isn’t just the most prestigious event in London’s sporting calendar. The world’s oldest tennis tournament also played a huge role in boosting the city’s recovery from the pandemic when, along with other major sporting and cultural events, it contributed over £600 million to the capital’s economy.

Last year, Wimbledon’s All England Club posted a record attendance of 515,164. Such a huge influx of visitors to the capital brings with it a golden period for the city’s businesses – with food and beverage outlets taking the lion’s share. But with thousands of restaurants and bars all vying for fans’ attention, how can you stand out in a crowd – and use Wimbledon to boost your own bottom line?

Here’s how to leverage the Wimbledon effect for your own premises, all while giving your tennis fan customers a sporting occasion to remember.

1. Add the dates to your diary

The first part of your pre-Wimbledon prep? Keeping an eye on the tournament’s key dates. And one thing to note is that Wimbledon starts a week later this year because of changes in schedules from the All England Club.

The dates for Wimbledon 2023 are Monday 3rd July to Sunday 16th July. The middle Sunday is an especially important day for your events calendar, as it features a full day of play once again after being introduced in 2022.

But the biggest day of the tournament? It has to be the men’s singles final. Held this year on Sunday 16th July, it’s often the most watched sporting event of the year in the UK.

2. Check you have the correct TV licence

Broadcasting live sports like the Wimbledon final can be a great income boost for pubs and bars, helping you get more customers through the door. But before you start rearranging tables or setting up your big screen, it’s crucial that you have the paperwork in place to avoid prosecution.

Your hospitality businesses need to be covered by the correct TV Licence if you’re planning on broadcasting Wimbledon. You can apply for a licence or find out more information on broadcasting sport from your business here.

3. Stock up on special menu items

Whether it’s an inventive Pimm’s cocktail, a burger shaped like a tennis ball or a new twist on strawberries and cream, creating a limited-time-only menu creates a buzz around your bar, driving customers to test you out as a matter of urgency – and leading to repeat visits while your tennis-themed experience is still available.

Square for Restaurants POS lets you set up these kinds of specials in seconds. But you’ll also get to see exactly how your new menu items are performing – and you can manage your inventory in real-time, too. Having this data at your fingertips can help you gauge the success of your Wimbledon-themed specials, helping you to make informed business decisions moving forward.

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4. Adjust your opening hours

Normally shut up shop at 10.30 pm on the dot? You might need to adjust your closing times as matches can go on late into the evening, right up to 11 pm – a deadline famously tested in 2012 when Andy Murray beat Marcos Baghdatis in a 3 hour 13 minute marathon that finally finished at 11.02 pm.

The same goes for matches held earlier in the day, because play on all outside courts starts at 11 am, while Centre Court games take place at 1.30 pm. If you fail to show the matches your customers want to see in their entirety, they’ll take their custom elsewhere – and you may not get them back again.

Naturally, any adjustment to your normal business hours will need to be communicated to your team. Square Timecards, available with Square for Restaurants, makes it easy to keep on top of changing shift patterns, keeping everyone happy and well-informed. You can also create, manage and publish rotas based on the availability of you and your team.

5. Speed up your serve

Wimbledon can seat 42,000 people, but there’ll be many more who’ve not been lucky enough to bag a ticket and are eager to watch the sporting action with equally passionate fans. To cope with this additional influx of people it’s time to make like Serena Williams and find ways to speed up your serve.

One way to do this is by taking payment at the table. Square Terminal is economical, easy to use and allows staff to take payments quickly, helping you avoid bottlenecks at the bar.

You could also consider using a restaurant booking system that integrates with your restaurant point of sale to reduce no-show appointments. Putting it in place long before those Slazenger balls start bouncing can give you valuable insights into your current operations, so you can spot inefficiencies and identify ways to tighten up your regular service.

Using Square for Restaurant’s OpenTable integration can help further, allowing you to see how long a customer has had to wait, helping you uncover gaps in performance so you can quickly take action to improve.

6. Make good use of your outdoor space

You may not have the perfectly-manicured green lawns of a tennis court at your establishment, but if you have any sort of outdoor space, Wimbledon is the time to use it. Using Square for Restaurants’ OpenTable integration can up your game here too, as it allows you to customise floorplans in a flash, letting you make efficient use of outdoor tables.

Just remember that, along with tennis whites and strawberries and cream, the other thing Wimbledon is most famous for is the fabulously unpredictable British weather. So if you’re planning on showing the tennis on a screen outside, remember the need for shelter.

7. Remember those watching at home

The 2022 Wimbledon BBC coverage of the tournament was watched by 53.8 million people, so don’t forget to cater to the significant number of potential customers who prefer to watch the action at home. Using Square Online for Restaurants will help get your Wimbledon set menus or special dishes to your customers, wherever they are. And it ensures all your online and mobile orders get pushed directly to your POS and KDS, whether they come through your Square Online site or third-party delivery partners.

8. Create your own Henman Hill

With its cheering, singing, flag-waving and fancy dress, nothing beats the convivial atmosphere at Henman Hill (or Murray Mound as it’s been called in recent years). Recreating some of this buzz in your own establishment can help you build engagement and keep customers coming back for more. At a minimum, put up some Union Jack bunting, tennis-themed decorations or flags. Consider running some Wimbledon-themed events such as tennis quiz nights, which can be great ways to get people through the door – and build excitement when they’re here.

9 Pull in the crowds

A robust marketing strategy can ensure that customers find your business and make it part of their plans over the Wimbledon fortnight. Social media is a great starting point. In addition to putting up engaging, high-quality social media posts, explicitly ask your followers to like and share them.

Remember to appeal to local customers, as they’re the ones who’ll keep returning to your business long after the umpire’s packed up and gone home. To target the people on your bar or restaurant’s own doorstep, keep an eye on your local search. Ensure your enterprise has an up-to-date Google business profile as many people in your local area will use Google Maps when searching for a venue showing a match.

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