‘Unhappy Hour’: Surge Pricing for Pints Hits U.K. Pubs

Some British bar patrons are about to pony up more for their pints. The Stonegate Group — the United Kingdom’s largest pub group, which owns approximately 4,500 pubs across the U.K. — has announced that 800 of its bars will begin using dynamic pricing, or surge pricing, which will see the cost of a pint increase by 20 pounds during busy hours.

Pubs in Britain have hit a rough patch in recent years, with the Stonegate Group having reported a loss of £23 million — approximately $29 million — in a six-month period ending in April 2023. The company cites understaffing and increased staffing costs (like employing additional bouncers) as primary reasons behind their decision to lean on surge pricing. Stonegate also points to extra cleaning, washing glasses, and “complying with licensing requirements” as factors that went into the decision.

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