He said that, while the strategy may increase revenue, it could also alienate customers and that “the long-term effect on customer demand should also be considered.”
Some companies appear to be listening to complaints from customers. AMC Entertainment, the world’s largest theatre chain, in July, abandoned plans to charge more for movie seats depending on their location, which it rolled out as a test in March in New York, Illinois and Kansas. Lyft, the ride-hailing company, might also be moving away from surge pricing. Its chief executive, David Risher, said last month during the company’s earnings call that surge pricing had meant that the company had missed out on riders who did not want to pay higher prices.
“It’s particularly bad because riders hate it with a fiery passion,” Risher said. “And so we’re really trying to get rid of it.”
Heffernan, the Stonegate spokesperson, said the company had previously raised prices during England’s soccer matches at the World Cup. Under the new pricing strategy, reported earlier by The Telegraph, London prices will also go down at quieter times.
British pubs have struggled with high inflation in recent years, with many having had to shut their doors. Stonegate reported a loss of £23 million ($44.5 million) in the six months ending in April, citing Britain’s cost-of-living crisis.
Tom Stainer, the chief executive of Campaign for Real Ale, which represents pubgoers in Britain, called the new pricing policy an “unhappy hour surge” and said it would not help bring consumers back to pubs after the pandemic dented business. He said that pubs had historically offered communities an affordable place to gather and socialise, but that drinks had become increasingly unaffordable.
“Pubs are places where you are expected to walk in and know what you’re going to be paying for a pint, regardless of the time of day,” Stainer said. “If we saw this idea spreading, I can’t see that as being something that is really going to encourage people to support their local pubs.”
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.