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What Is a Gastropub?

Lauren Valensky
27 Jul 2023

Emerging in the 2000s as spaces for highly skilled chefs to casually showcase their culinary skills, gastropubs have continued to gain popularity over the years, and are a hospitality trend that's here to stay.

Contrary to popular belief though, gastropubs are not just a cheap and cheerful option for a quick drink and bite to eat. Rather, they are a full-service restaurant that emphasizes high-quality, seasonal ingredients and impeccable service in a relaxed setting. However, achieving this delicate balance can be far from relaxing; so if you're thinking of how to open a gastro pub, there are a few things you should consider...

The science behind the name

Coined in 1991 by British restaurateur David Eyre, the term "gastropub" combines the words "gastronomy" and "pub" to embody this revolutionary type of dining establishment.

While the name may sound like some sort of experiment, a gastropub, (sometimes called a gastro bar), is a type of restaurant that serves high-end, chef-driven food in a purposefully casual atmosphere. These elevated public houses are also known for their inventive menus, centered around local, seasonal ingredients, and well-curated drinks offerings.

What sort of food is typically served at gastropubs?

At gastropubs, you can expect to find a wide range of creative dishes that incorporate fresh, seasonal ingredients. Common menu items include:

  • Small plates or appetizers: Think charcuterie boards, roasted vegetables, and fresh salads.
  • Hearty entrees: Gastropubs are characterized by their filling yet refined food. They typically offer a mix of traditional British pub fare (think fish and chips or shepherd's pie) as well as more innovative dishes (like duck confit or grilled octopus).
  • Desserts: For those with a sweet tooth, gastropubs often have an impressive selection of decadent desserts and baked goods, like rhubarb tart and house-made ice cream.
  • Specialty cooking: As well as interesting ingredients, many gastropubs also offer a range of creative cooking methods, such as sous vide, smoking, and dehydrating.

In the wake of the pandemic, demands for table service have soared, so even when you've narrowed down what your posh pub's going to offer, it's also crucial to consider how you'll be serving your customers.

WIth Epos Now's mobile ordering platform, Order and Pay, patrons can easily pick from your customizable digital menu, and pay from their phones, streamlining your workflow and allowing you to focus on what matters most: delicious food!

And speaking of delicious food, if you need more tasty pub grub inspiration, you can have a look at our full list of pub menu ideas.

Are you looking for an EPOS that pours productivity into your gastropub?

Epos Now solutions provide the latest technologies to automate manual tasks, with integrations that work to sync orders, accept all payment types, manage multi-location inventory and more.

Epos Now can help you boost your hospitality business with one, cloud-based system regardless of your business size.

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What sort of drinks are typically served at gastropubs?

In addition to their inventive food menus, these relaxed restaurants also typically have an extensive selection of drinks, which typically include:

  • Craft beer: Many gastropubs have a focus on craft beer, offering a rotating selection of local and international brews.
  • Wine: Gastropubs typically have a well-curated wine list with something to suit every palate.
  • Spirits: Gastropubs often have a wide selection of spirits, including vodka, whiskey, and gin.
  • Non-alcoholic drinks: For those looking to avoid alcohol, gastropubs typically offer an array of elevated non-alcoholic beverages, like freshly squeezed juices and artisanal sodas such as pomegranate and basil spritz.

While it can be difficult enough to manage food menu ingredients alone, with the addition of drinks, inventory management across a gastropub can get majorly confusing, and lead to unnecessary wastage and lost custom. Fortunately, with Epos Now's hospitality point of sale system, you can centralise both your food and drinks menus in one place, allowing you to keep track of stock levels down to the last drop, and automatically reorder when running low.

What is the difference between a gastropub and a regular pub?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as the line between a gastropub and a traditional pub can be somewhat blurry. In general, however, many people consider gastropubs to be more upscale than traditional pubs, offering higher-quality food and drinks with a more refined atmosphere overall.

Additionally, while both gastropubs and traditional pubs typically have a selection of beer and wine, gastropubs typically have a more extensive drink menu with a focus on craft beer and speciality spirits, as well as a greater emphasis on fresh and seasonal ingredients in their menus.

How should a gastropub be decorated?

When it comes to gastropubs, decor goes a long way, since these spaces are well-known for their cosy and inviting atmosphere and typically sport a rustic or industrial-inspired interior to create a relaxed and casual vibe.

Considering 40% of diners say that a relaxed ambience is the most important factor when choosing a restaurant, creating a comfortable atmosphere can increase your pub’s appeal to potential patrons and ultimately increase your customer retention rates as well [1].

So if you're looking to open your own gastropub, focus on creating a warm and welcoming ambiance with interesting decor and an inviting layout. Some popular decorative elements of gastropubs include:

  • Exposed brick walls
  • Distressed metal light fixtures
  • Tall ceilings and large windows
  • Farmhouse tables and mismatched chairs
  • Dedicated performance space for live music

If you’re still dabbling over decor, have a flick through our full list of pub decor ideas.

What are the benefits of opening a gastropub?

While there are lots of great reasons to open a gastropub, there are a few standout features that make gastropubs a great choice for aspiring restaurateurs.

Easy on experience:

You don't need to have experience working in a Michelin-starred restaurant to open a successful gastropub. In fact, many gastropub owners come from more casual backgrounds in the food and beverage industry, which in turn benefits the business when it comes to the 'casual' element of its branding.

Relatively low-cost:

When compared to other types of restaurants, gastropubs are relatively affordable to set up and run. This is because they don't require extensive (or expensive) decor or an extensive beverage menu.

Tap into an existing food trend:

As a growing hospitality trend, gastropubs are always in demand. So if you have a passion for great food, opening one is the perfect way to get your foot in the door of the restaurant industry.

Are gastropubs easy to run?

Generally speaking, gastropubs are not any more difficult to run than traditional pubs.

In order to be successful as a gastropub owner and operator though, you'll need to have a passion for high-quality food, and a good understanding of how to run a restaurant in general - including how to manage costs, how to create and maintain an enticing menu, how to create a welcoming atmosphere, and how to market your business effectively.

If you're you're not savvy with all of those skills, don't fret, there are a number of digital tools available that can help get your gastropub running smoothly, like Epos Now's complete POS solution for hospitality.

Get profits pouring into your gastropub with a powerful POS system

Epos Now offers state-of-the-art POS systems for retail and hospitality businesses. We let you choose the tools and insights to help your business achieve its goals. Designed to work as a complete business management system, you can control all vital aspects of your company from one cloud-based system.

  • Review profitability reports based on individual item performance, trending dishes, best and worst sellers, and employee sales.
  • View analyses on profit margin, cash flow, and peak times for better staff scheduling and floorplan management.
  • Access multi-award-winning inventory management systems that sync online orders with in-house orders. 
  • Table management and booking system integrations available for an optimized service

If you're looking to poshen up your pub offering, we'd love to hear from you!

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