Lets have profitable fun!!!

This month we have another article from our printed newsletter that we send to all Midlands social clubs called – Inn The Club News. We have had a great response to the newsletter and had some great clubs featured in the club spot light section. We have posted a story to help you market your social club to get more new and old customers though the door and as the title says it is a fun way!



There are lots of reasons that we all like to go down to our local club for a pint. High up on the list is to chat, meet people and events. (I’m sure you can name many more). So if there is something going on at the club then this seems to being even more people out who then have a good time and also attracts new faces.
In turn people spend more and go away talking about your club. Most clubs hold events for the well-known days, like Paddy’s Day and St Georges Day or the World Cup. But there are so many other days that clubs could make more of to attract people in.
Wimbledon is fast approaching and is very easy to tailor promotions to with a fun theme. The obvious drink, Pimms & Lemonade, you can sell punnets of strawberries, put a Wii tennis game on the big screen and even get a couple of the bar staff in their whites – ‘you can’t be serious’ I hear you shout! Yes we are, as people actually like fun in this day and age of so much doom and gloom.
On the 23rd July is national Hot Dog Day. This would be a great one to attract families and to offer different types of sausages and sauces. You could tie up with a local butcher to help support the day/night.
Below is just a few of the Fun Days coming up that you could use to promote in your club and overleaf are a few Fun Days that perhaps you won’t use, but as we have said it is all about fun! Also a few points to help your day go well.
Good luck and have fun

July 19 – National Daiquiri Day Aug 25 – Banana Split Day
July 20 – National Lollipop Day Aug 26 – National Dog Day
July 21 – National Junk Food Day Aug 29 – More Herbs, Less Salt Day
July 23 – National Hot Dog Day Aug 30 – Toasted Marshmallow Day
July 24 – National Tequila Day Sept 05 – Cheese Pizza Day
July 28 – National Milk Chocolate Day Sept 12 – Chocolate Milkshake Day
Aug 05 – Friendship Day
Aug 20 – National Lemonade Day Source: Google: National Fun Days


• Don’t just aim at the obvious celebrations. There are so ridiculously funny national awareness days throughout the year to increase your bar takings. If you are not the most imaginative, why not call a staff meeting with the teenyboppers of the team and together dream up a quirky campaign.
• Put the squeeze on your suppliers, remind them whose brands are being promoted. Go and negotiate special short-term discounts to soften the blow to your bottom line.
• Aim your offers towards hours when your target audience may otherwise be pre-drinking. Make it show to your customers that they can really afford to go out.
• Advertise, advertise, and advertise!! There is nothing worse than hearing your customers say they knew little or nothing about your promotion. Steer the bums in the right direction with posters, toilet frames, flyers, verbal information, as well as social media.
• Decorate your venue to increase the everyday atmosphere. Create a visual vibrancy with balloons and bunting that match the corporate colours of any featured drinks.
• Do not compromise on quality. If you elect to offer better value for money, do not cut corners. Wow your customer, and create the kind of hype that stimulates the best form of marketing – word of mouth.
• Show everybody how much fun it was. Use a photographer to capture the event, and upload attention grabbing photos to your Facebook page and display on a picture board in your club for all to see.


June 09 – Donald Duck Day

July 03 – Compliment your Mirror Day

July 10 – Teddy Bear Picnic Day

July 14 – International Nude Day

July 22 – Rat-Catcher’s Day

July 27 – Take your Plants for a Walk Day

Good luck with your fun days.

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illegal Poker in Clubs – Stay Legal

Inn the Club Article Poker in Clubs

Featured in our latest printed ‘Inn The Club News’ to social clubs in the Midlands is Nick Arron from Poppleston Allen Solicitors. Nick is the lead partner in the betting and gaming team and having responsibility for operating, personal and premises licences under the gambling act 2005.




nick arron

Illegal poker in “clubs” continues to be a problem for local authorities, early in the year the Royal Surrey Social Club in Morden, Surrey had to stop their poker activities as it was discovered poker was being played illegally in exceeding prescribed limits and a new application for the ‘Palms of Enfield’ club was rejected on a number of grounds including concerns about illegal poker. Examples such as the above have led to increased interest in poker in clubs by local authorities’. With this in mind, we have put together a brief overview on way to provide poker legally at your club

Under the Gambling Act 2005, commercial high-stakes poker is restricted to licensed casinos.  Whilst poker can be played in members clubs, there are various restrictions depending on whether there is a Club Gaming Permit in place, or the club is operating under exempt gaming provisions.

Properly established “members clubs” can apply to the local licensing authority for a gaming permit, the club must be established wholly or mainly for purposes other than gaming, and a council fee (up to £200) is required along with the application.

The advantage of a Club Gaming Permit is that there are no limits on the stakes and prizes on permitted gaming, which includes poker – where you can also charge a participation fee of £3. However, along with this permit comes the increased responsibility of managing the poker game and stakes offered so that gaming is provided responsible, it is not used to facilitate crime, preventing underage gaming, ensuring the protection of vulnerable people and ensuring that the gaming taking place is fair and open.

For those clubs content to play poker for low stakes and prizes, who do not wish to incur the expense of a Club Gaming Permit, there is an option to provide equal chance gaming such as backgammon, dominos, cribbage, bingo and poker without a permit, under the ‘Exempt Gaming’ exemption.  Under Exempt Gaming rules, equal chance gaming can be provided without a licence as long as certain limits on stakes, prizes and participation fees apply.  In respect of poker, the maximum stake per player is £10 per game; combined stakes for the club cannot exceed £250 per day and £1,000 per week. The maximum prize is £250 per game (money or money’s worth) and participation fee of £1 per person per day (commercial clubs with club machine permit can charge £3 per person per day or otherwise £1).


For those clubs who would like further information in respect of poker and other gaming in clubs, please contact us at Poppleston Allen Solicitors. We at  Comrie Automatics can highly recommend nick and his team at Poppleston Allen as they have been advising us and dealing with all our licencing requirements for many years now.

Nick Arron | Partner  

Poppleston Allen

E: N.Arron@popall.co.uk | T: 0115 9538 510 | M: 07968 805 559 | W: www.popall.co.uk


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Doing A Ratner…..

Doing a Ratner…

We are probably all of the age to remember Ratner shops, you might like me even bought your good lady some of their, what you thought at the time was fine Jewellery!

What is more famous than the shops was the day Gerald Ratner back in 1991 gave a speech to a conference and described his own company products as “crap”. The speech went down in business history along with Ratner’s career.

I had the pleasure of hearing Gerald Ratner speak a few weeks ago and described the pressure and fall out from his off the cuff remarks. His business went into a fast down ward spiral and only 6 months later the bank contacted him to say that due to breaking covenants on his loans he now them One Billion Pounds, Ratner humorously comments that in 1991 a Billion Pounds was a lot of money.

He spoke of the 7 years he spent in bed watching Countdown and was in a bad way with depression. His wife then told him to get out of the house or she would divorce him, to which he replied, “My first wife divorced me because I was always at work and now you want to divorce me because I am always at home, you just can’t win!” This did not go down well with Mrs Ratner!

The first step towards recovering from the business failure was exercise. ‘I decided to try cycling,’ he says. ‘Apart from my talks, it is the best thing that has come out of what happened to me.

‘I cycle 28 miles every day. I don’t wear a helmet or carry anything because I like to be free, but it’s the time when I get my best ideas.’ Many of his rich business friends deserted him, but advertising mogul Charles Saatchi remained a friend after the speech, even though they have lost touch now.

When I was down he was very kind. He phoned regularly and even offered me an office if I wanted it.


Ratner began his business recovery by re-mortgaging his house and setting up a company running health clubs, which he sold a few years later for £3.9million.

He then set up Geraldonline in 2003, but no one was remotely interested in its launch. ‘I realised the only thing people were interested in about me was the speech in 1991. So I contacted the Institute of Directors and asked if they would have me back.

I talked in front of 5,000 people and all the papers picked it up. Someone in the audience then asked me to talk at a conference and it took off from there
‘I had spent seven years feeling a victim, denying I said what I said. I had felt it wasn’t my fault and I was in physical pain as if daggers were being constantly driven into my stomach. But once I started giving speeches I managed to turn the whole thing round and it’s no longer such a nightmare. I tell people that having a setback, whether it’s going bankrupt, being divorced or ill, doesn’t mean it is the end of you.


Getting my audience to laugh puts me on a huge high and people now realise I am no longer the arrogant snob they thought I was.’

Ratner is very different from his Eighties self.

‘I now realise that the vast amount of money I had made me feel hollow rather than happy, because I was on a treadmill of being competitive.

I was addicted to adrenaline and so busy making money and meeting targets set by the City that everything else, including friends and family, went out of the window.

Mark greig with Gerard Ratner at talk Coventry

Mark greig with Gerard Ratner at talk Coventry

‘I bought a helicopter. I drove a Porsche. I would always take the best suite in the hotel, fly first-class. Now I stay somewhere modest and fly by easyJet or Ryanair.’

I have become very careful with money in case it all goes wrong again.’

Today he enjoys a more leisurely lifestyle. ‘I go to my office in Bicester, Oxfordshire, only two or three times a week. I have 15 staff in the UK and everything is made in India. It’s all very different.

Now you have to know more about how to be clever on Google and the workings of the internet than you do about jewellery. I do know, however, that the website is getting three million hits a month.

‘The good thing is I don’t have to answer to anybody and especially not the bank.’

If you ever get the chance to hear him speak I would definitely recommend it, he just proves that even when we are going though a very hard time there is light at the end of the tunnel. In the pub and club industry we have all been though some hard times – smoking ban, recession, supermarkets and many more to the list but like Ratner we find a way to keep going! just don’t say that your local is CRAP!!!!!


Until the next time :)



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Below is one of the articles from our ‘Inn The Club News’ printed newsletter that goes out to over 500 social clubs though out the midlands. We have some fantastic feed back from social clubs and brewers to the newsletter featuring regular experts connected to the licensed trade and also many help full story’s mixed with some amusing stories as we all need some lighthearted humor.  If you would like a copy posted to you please click on this link Comrie Automatics and fill in your details. Enjoy the read.


Less balls… and no, we’re not talking about some of the conversations around the bar late in the evening, we are talking about something far more important…

The future of Clubs…something I think is over looked and with a little bit of effort could help push Club memberships and profits north instead of south.

What is it I hear you say, women. Yes, a simple answer but so many Clubs over look the female population when looking to plan events, away days or general marketing of the Club. With a few easy tweaks you can make the Club become far more female friendly like, having a couple of different Rose wines, flavoured ciders and other female friendly drinks.

Do you put on events/nights that appeal to women? Does anyone speak with them to find out what else they would like to see the Club offer or about becoming a member?

Now, I am not talking about holding a Chippendale Stripping type night (even though that might go down well!). I am talking ABUT wine tasting evenings and asking the wine company to send a representative to the Club to explain about their wines, Comedy nights perhaps with a female MC, a female Beer tasting night with different fruity and flavoured beers, Ladies Ascot day and other themed ladies days throughout the year or ‘Bring your Partner ‘special offer nights to get them both engaged with the Club.

Below are a few female friendly tips to help make your Club more appealing;-

  • A warm greeting and send off goes along way
  • Cleanliness is key, particularly in the loos
  • Soft drinks aren’t just for children, stock some high-end products such as fresh juice
  • Good value (not cheap) food and drink will get women in daily
  • Flexible furniture for group of ladies or mums with prams
  • Staff should be smart, even if it is just matching branded polo shirts
  • Soft furnishings such as cushions and curtains to soften the scheme and relax into
  • Serve a range of hot drinks including speciality coffees and hot chocolate

Just a few handy tips that might well increase your female customers.

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Keeping Club Land Informed


The Midlands widest read bi-monthly Newsletter to Clubs

Inn the Club News is a bi-monthly publication that is distributed to Social Clubs, Private Members Clubs and Snooker Clubs around the Midlands.

Now in its 8th issue ‘Inn the Club News’ gives clubs the advice and information along with humorous articles with the aim of helping and sharing good and bad ideas to ensure the survival of prized community hubs – Social Clubs.

With articles such as ‘Advice from the experts’ where top people from their respected profession give clubs a heads up to what is working or new legislation, giving clubs valuable information.

‘Club Spotlight’ – a different club from around the Midlands is featured each issue to not only give other clubs an insight to what is or is not working but a great way to publicise your Social Club to all the other Midlands clubs.

Our ‘Inn the Club News’ editor Mark Greig, also writes an informative article each issue which we get great feedback from.

Whilst ‘Inn the Club News’ does not do advertising if you are an expert in your field and would like the exposure to all the Midlands clubs, please contact mark@comrieauomatics.com about writing an informative article.

We will be publishing a few stories from ‘Inn the Club News’ on this Comrie Automatics blog so you can get a taste of the quality information we distribute to midlands clubs every other month. If you currently do not receive our printed newsletter click on contact Comrie and fill in your full contact details and we will put you on our mailing list.

Contact Comrie Automatics

Until next issue..

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