Pub chain to charge customers more to drink at peak times

The owner of Slug & Lettuce and Yates bars will increase its prices to meeting higher running costs.

Drinkers will be charged more during busy periods at one of the country’s biggest pub chains.

Stonegate Group, which owns Slug & Lettuce and Yates bars, confirmed it is introducing “dynamic pricing” which could see prices increase at evenings and weekends.

This would mean prices would need to be inflated for 72-hour periods to meet Scottish alcohol laws designed to stop Happy Hour promotions.

Stonegate Group has around 4,000 locations across the UK, and previously introduced price increases when England football matches were shown at their pubs during the last two world cup tournaments.

The company said prices would increase “marginally” in selected pubs and bars to reflect higher costs.

It comes as pubs continue to struggle with soaring operating costs following the Covid pandemic.

Data consultants CGA and AlixPartners said in May that “Britain has suffered a net decline of 4,593 licensed premises in the last year to March 2023”.

A spokesperson for Stonegate told STV News: “Stonegate Group, like all retail businesses, regularly review pricing to manage costs but also to ensure we offer great value for money to our guests.

“Across the managed business our dynamic pricing encompasses the ability to offer guests a range of promotions including happy hours, two for one cocktails, and discounts on food and drink products at different times on different days throughout the week.

“This flexibility may mean that on occasions pricing may marginally increase in selective pubs and bars due to the increased cost demands on the business with additional staffing or licensing requirements such as additional door team members.

“Whenever we adjust prices, including offering great value for money for our guests through promotions and discounts, we always do so in line with the relevant legislation in Scotland.”

The system is not uncommon, with businesses such as Uber using peak-time pricing as well as hotels and airlines using the system.

The Alcohol (Scotland) Act 2005 was implemented to reduce alcohol abuse and prevent promotions such as Happy Hour encouraging unhealthy drinking habits.

The legislation enforces a 72-hour price lock meaning venues must keep discounts or increases at that price for at least three days.

Stonegate group has yet to confirm which of their 4,000 locations would be involved in the “dynamic pricing” system.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code