Drinkers will be charged more for a pint during busy periods at one of Britain’s biggest chains.
Stonegate – which owns Slug & Lettuce and Yates’s bars – is introducing “dynamic” pricing, which is used by Uber and some second-hand concert ticket websites.
The company – which has 4,500 venues across the UK – has not revealed how much prices could go up, but one report suggested the price of a pint is already 20p more at its London bars on Saturdays and Sundays.
The charges will be brought in at 800 of its venues during peak times, such as evenings and weekends.
Patrons have been informed of the change with a “polite notice” in Stonegate pubs.
Stonegate told Sky News: “This flexibility may mean that on occasions pricing may marginally increase in selective pubs and bars due to the increased cost demands on the business with additional staffing or licensing requirements such as additional door team members.”
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It pointed to what it says are common examples of dynamic pricing in hospitality.
The company added: “Across the managed business our dynamic pricing encompasses the ability to offer guests a range of promotions including happy hours, two-for-one cocktails, and discounts on food and drink products at different times on different days throughout the week.”
The chief executive of another of Britain’s big pub chains, who asked not to be named, told The Guardian the practice is not unusual and has been “going on for decades” in the largest venues during events and busy periods.
“They’re not the only ones doing it,” he said.
“To be honest, good for them that they’re telling people,” he said – but added that the transparency may have backfired amid dismay on social media and negative publicity.