On a long journey back from wherever I was last week in deepest Wiltshire, I was reminded once again on the rather inane choice of food advertising outside our pubs along the byways and highways of this green and over drizzled land.
The most common appeared to be ‘Good Food’. Surely one would not stop if it were anything less? I have yet to see a sign reading –Mediocre Food’ – which frankly would often be more honest and appropriate given some of the fare I have had thrown in front of me at some establishments.
Then there is ‘Delicious Food.’ According to whom I would like to know? 8 out of ten cats think our food is ‘delicious’ for example. Then there were pub signs advertising ‘Home Cooked Food’. For some people this might be a real turn off. If the poor chap or chappess passing by has a spouse who cannot cook to save their lives and most of what they have to eat comes by way of a microwave in their home, then ‘Home Cooked’ may not be too appealing! Of course we live in a society that says advertising home cooked food has to mean it is cooked on the premises. The word we need to be wary of here, therefore, is simply ‘cooked’. Has it been cooked? Or simply reheated? Popped in a deep fryer maybe? Poured from a tin into a pan? So this sign tells us little…. and is of as much use to lure a customer in as saying… our cook is called Mabel. We are simply none the wiser as to what we will be getting.
The signs I like to see are ones that tell me either simply that the pub sells food – I can make my own mind up whether I think it is ‘delicious’ or ‘good’ or even ‘excellent’ as some pubs advertise. Or ones that actually say briefly what they serve – ‘Fresh Locally Caught Seafood’, ‘Today’s special – Mutton Stew’ etc etc.
And there are ones that simply go for self-deprecating humour.
Finally, one pub we passed advertised ‘Real Ale and Real Food’. This is interesting – as it presupposes other local hostelries were selling fake beer and fake food! This sounds scary. I get where they are coming from – real ale – made hopefully by a local brewer – not mass produced on some vast plant in gigantic metallic containers. Real food? I guess I hope they mean it is fresh, not processed or out of a freezer. That it is not ‘formed’ – or worse – reformed – meat pieces – the thought is gruesome. That it is prepared with love and,yes, care.
Anyways, we did find a pub that did serve fabulous food – and all they said outside was that food was served here and at what times. I will go back to that establishment. Honest and down to earth and getting customers by reputation and word of mouth.
I know it is not easy in this competitive landscape to get customers in to each pub – but I just wish that before they put their signs up that they thought about what they really wanted to say about the food they serve – not just that is is ‘good’ or ‘delicious’ or ‘Home cooked’.