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The Publican – October 2009

The first ever voucher scheme designed for use solely across the on-trade is set to be launched next month – and pubs are being urged to get involved.

Pub companies Greene King, Young’s, Thwaites and Hall & Woodhouse have already signed up. Their pubs will be among more than 1,000 outlets where the tokens can be used when the scheme launches on November 12.

Dominic Lavan, managing director of the company behind the new scheme, Pub Tokens, said it will allow pubs to cash in on the £3.2bn spent on gift vouchers every year in the UK. “This is an opportunity for the first time for the on-trade to have a multiple retailer scheme,” he said.  “And it gives consumers another option rather than buying vouchers for the high street.” Customers will be able to buy vouchers from the Pub Tokens website in £10 and £20 denominations.  These can be spent on food, drink and accommodation at pubs listed on the site.  Pubs then redeem the vouchers with Pub Tokens.  There are no up-front costs for pubs that join the scheme.

For pubs taking part it is a way of attracting new trade, Lavan said. “These are a great gift for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, birthdays or any other occasion, and it encourages people back in the pub for special occasions,” he said. “People will not only redeem the vouchers but they are always going to be inclined to up-spend in cash while they are in there.  If we are going to compete with the high street we have to have a scheme supported by a wide variety of pub operators.”