The night-time leisure industry in 2018: Boom or bust?

The financial crises of 2007-8 brought many industries to their knees and sent some very familiar brand names into the abyss. Now, ten years on, it’s not uncommon to ask: Where are we going? And how is the global economy doing?

The answer is: relatively healthy, albeit with some wound-licking (although the problems that led to the crises, unnervingly, have yet to be adequately addressed).

But there is perhaps on enigma in all this: that of the late-night leisure industry. In fact, the late-night leisure industry might stand in the unique position that it is the only industry to be doing remarkably well, despite repudiations from the media.

A misled journalism narrative

Unfounded stories of a fledgling late-night leisure industry are all too common in the press. We are told students and the public in general have lost their appetites for draught beer or dance music; the great British pubs are closing at an alarming rate; that increasing costs have made a night in with Netflix more appealing instead.  This narrative couldn’t be further from the truth.

In Britain, the number of independent bars is increasing, not declining. Almost 8,000 new pubs have opened since the financial crash, and mostly by independents.

There is even evidence to suggest that supply is not meeting the demand, as with the fact that illegal raves have nearly doubled since 2017.

And furthermore, the chances of a bar or nightclub opening and being successful, and still being around more than three years later, are greater than the failure rate.

Does all of this sound like an industry in decline?

What’s with all the negativity? Late-night leisure: a misunderstood industry

Ten years is a long time in business, and progress marches on.

What journalists have failed to understand is that the late-night leisure industry has transformed a lot since the financial crisis. And that’s not to say it has a whole lot to do with what happened in 2007-8 (though, undoubtedly, the crisis must have played a role). Many things have changed rapidly in the last decade: e-commerce, the Internet in general. Heck, we are even on the verge of driverless cars.

But the late-night leisure industry does not exist in a vacuum. It is a product of the free market, and therefore is subject to the whims of the populace. People are changing their drinking habits, but they are just changing. The people love a drink in 2018 as much as they did in 2008.

Succeeding in the late-night leisure industry in 2018 and beyond

As the free market and Internet have progressed over the last ten years, there has been a supernova of choice. We now have almost too many options; so it is with the late-night leisure industry.

The result is that competition is fierce. People often now merge restaurant-dining with dancing, and there is one almost-crucial feature for any nightclub or bar — a place where revellers can get a bite to eat.

With all the choice, it is easy to get lost in the crowd. It is now more crucial than ever to stand out from the crowd. It isn’t a coincidence that the last 10 years has seen a rise in the quirky, the odd, and the unusual — nightclub and bar owners are realising they need two factors for success: “pull” and “memory glue”. Pull is something that makes people curious (a death-row themed restaurant? Count me in!); memory glue is what keeps an establishment relevant and, well… memorable.

Okay, perhaps there are three reasons. The last we have already discussed: food.

For the entrepreneur looking to get started in the booming late-night leisure industry, it is important to know how to succeed. A part of that is choosing the right insurance policies for your nightclub or bar. It can be a bit of a mind field, but there are specialists out there willing to help.