The abundance of dog-friendly restaurants, bars and cafes have steadily increased in Sydney. Could you be losing out on business by not accommodating to the shifting values of today's diners?
There are strict rules and regulations regarding animals and food. Several petitions have been urging councils to reconsider their blanket rules around dogs and dining areas. Additionally, Sydney's lord mayor Clover Moore said laws should be changed to allow pets in more parts of the city stating "I have long been an advocate for allowing pets in pubs, on public transport and in workplaces."
Does Everyone Love Dogs?
According to the RSPCA, Australia has one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world, with approximately 61% of households owning pets. Dogs are the most common pet, at 40%. Australian households also spent over $13 billion on pet services and products in 2019 - so clearly there's a lot of love (and money) for these creatures!
The number of couples without children are also increasing in Australia, with The Australia Bureau of Statistics estimating between 2023 and 2029, there will be more people in a relationship living without children than families with kids. Many of these couples are opting for pet ownership, as Dr Amy Blackstone, a sociology professor at the University of Maine explains: “One way that child-free families express their nurturing side is through their connection with pets".
With these factors in mind, here's a look at the benefits of being a dog-friendly venue.
The Kennel Club found that 98% of the 251 dog-friendly UK pubs surveyed believe that dogs improved their business. Diners deciding where to eat will be more likely to consider your venue when they find out they can bring their four-legged best friend along. Once they sit down to order, doggie menus are also an easy way to raise revenue. You could even consider free doggie treats as a weekly special.
Improve Atmosphere & Morale
Dogs don't just benefit the business financially, they are also beneficial to the atmosphere of your venue and help reduce stress amongst staff. The mood-boosting power of pets has well been documented, and the reduction of anxiety is good for everyone involved, from customer to staff member. Dogs are also an easy way to start a conversation, and creates a community atmosphere with bountiful social interactions.
Opportunity for New Events
There are endless opportunities to host an exciting new event at your venue when dogs are involved! Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling.
Joining an existing event: Bars March
Held every year in the month of March, Bars March has been a pioneer since 2010 in popularising dogs in venues while also contributing to dog charities. Founder by Amy Cooper decided to create an annual month-long party where bars create a special drink and donates a portion of the drink's price to partner charities like Animal Welfare League NSW and Save A Dog Scheme. Over 400 bars have participated to raise $80,000 for charity - it's an excellent way to raise awareness of your venue as well as raise funds for a great cause!
Want to find out more on Bars March? Head over to our interview with founder Amy Cooper!
Making your own event: Dating with Dogs
The Golden Sheaf in Double Bay holds Dating with Dogs along with The Social Dog Company. A twist on the standard speed dating formula, the dogs do the icebreaking for you, and attendees are bound to meet like-minded people. This is not only a unique event, but is also an example of getting your venue on people's radar as being dog-friendly. The next time they walk their dog and happen to be near the venue, they may just pop in for a drink and bite to eat!
Social Media Presence
All three points above contribute to a very important factor in how people decide where to dine: good social media presence! Would you rather go to a pub with a broken website, no social media posts to tell you what the venue/offering looks like, with no new events since they introduced trivia night in 1995, OR would you rather go to an exciting venue that is clearly showing their constant innovation through new events and new menu items?
It's a no brainer that good social media presence has a big impact on your venue. Being a dog-friendly venue will boost your brand identity as warm, inviting, forward-thinking & open-minded. Seeing a social feed full of delicious food, beautiful atmosphere, and cute dogs will be sure to win many hearts.
The Instagram feed of The Carrington Sydney features dogs as well as their food & drink offerings. It's a great way to mix up content and utilise user-generated content!
With the prevalence of dog-friendly venues and the dog-loving trends of Australian households, it is definitely worth considering if this policy can be implemented at your venue, and if it speaks to your target demographic.
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