Feeling The Squeeze Or Feeling The Recovery?

Dark Oak Wooden A BoardsWith our usual cold weather and the continuing difficulties with sales there is no wonder that trading continues to be tough.

The first thing most people cut is there marketing and advertising budget which of course is a visious circle. You NEED to ADVERTISE to bring in the crowds and increase sales. Remember SPECULATE to ACCUMULATE!

You don’t have to spend a fortune to keep your image professional. Keep your signage looking spick and span with our Dark Oak A-boards. Solid wooden chalkboard a-boards that are not only stylish but practical too.

800 x 500mm £60.00*

1100 x 650mm £70.00*

1400 x 750mm £80.00*

*Prices exlcude VAT & Carriage

Article by Nikki Slade, Sales Director at BHMA.

Making More Use of Bar & Restaurant Outside Spaces

Cafe Bar Pub Banner Set

The fresh air and sunshine somehow stimulate social conversation, resulting in a friendly atmosphere, and repeat business.It is not just the smokers you are catering for… children are not allowed into most public houses, so what better way to promote your venue and boost sales, than extending your external areas.

Making use of the outside space of your venue makes sense in more ways than one, so why waste the opportunity to get more customers through the doors?


External Information StandYou will not only be wanting comfort and style but a practical space. Adding plants and decorative pieces will add to the atmosphere, while it also lends itself to advertising your offers and upcoming events.

You also need to be able to make the area user friendly and convenient.

Condiment, Cutlery and Menu HolderIf you serve food inside your venue, will you be serving it outside too? With the use of condiment holders, baskets and chalkboards, you will be making ordering easy for your customers.


Article by Nikki Slade, Sales Director at BHMA.

The History of the Blackboard Chalk Board

Blackboards-Chalkboards of different sizes

The blackboard was invented by James Pillans, headmaster of the Royal High School in Scotland. He used it with colored chalk to teach geography.

The chalkboard/blackboard was in use in Indian schools in the 11th century as per Alberuni’s Indica (Tarikh Al-Hind), written in the early 11th century. They used black slate tablets for the children in the schools, and wrote on them like we writon on our books today. They used calcium sulphate (chalk) as we would have done before the explosion of the chalkboard pen.

The term “blackboard” dates from around 1815 to 1825 while the newer and predominantly American term, “chalkboard” dates from 1935 to 1940.

The chalkboard was introduced into the US education system in 1801.

Compared to Whiteboards chalkboards have a variety of advantages:

  • Chalk requires no special care; whiteboard markers must be capped or else they dry out.
  • Chalk is much cheaper than whiteboard markers.
  • It is easier to draw lines of different thicknesses with chalk than it is with whiteboard markers.
  • Chalk has a no smell, whereas whiteboard markers often have a pungent odour.
  • Chalk writing often provides better contrast than whiteboard markers, which helps people read at a distance.

Patrick Huggins – Director

How often should we be changing our menus?

Having done some research on Menus recently, I am intrigued as to how often restaurants, pubs and hoteliers change their menus.

Specials Menu Clipboard

Specials Menu Clipboard

I can think of one Italian high street restaurant in particular, that I frequent with my family at least once a month, and I can honestly say I have never had the same plate of food twice, and that is without ordering from the specials. So is it best to have loads on the menu to start with and never have to change them, thus saving on time and paper. Or is it better to have a very basic menu holder and loads of specials that are written up on lovely chalkboards?

If you use chalkboards, do you have a sign writer to do them for you, or is it a working document that gets re-written after every service? The options for menus and advertising your wares are vast!

Alphanumeric Stencil For Chalkboards

Alphanumeric Stencil For Chalkboards

If you are changing the menu fairly often, let’s say weekly, do you use menu covers and then re-print your dishes on pretty card to insert? The added advantage of this is if they get covered in chocolate pudding, the menu covers are wipe clean and the inserts can be replaced.

Classic Brown Menu Cover

Classic Brown Menu Cover

Chalkboards, I always think are a lovely addition to any venue serving food. To me, it shows that the menu is being refreshed on a regular basis…using a specials board shows the ingredients are fresh.. Once they’ve gone, they’ve gone! Once the fish or pie of the day has gone, I can imagine the satisfaction of the chef telling his waitress to strike it off the ‘specials’ board! Do you make the menus all look the same; with clean lines and smudge-free using stencils and waterproof pens? Coloured chalk or the good old fashioned white stuff? Chalkboard Pens or proper chunky chalk?

Table Specials Chalkboard

Table Specials Chalkboard

Should menus be changed with The Seasons? quarterly – therefore encouraging chefs to use the freshest ingredients, giving them time to cost up and taste every dish before they present them to the public?

Do you keep a tally of best sellers, so you know which ones to keep and which ones to change?

Do you only change the menu when there is a price change on ingredients, or do you have inspiring young chefs that you allow to put one dish forward each month?

All these questions that go into deciding how often to change the menu… Who would have thought that writing out what we as customers can eat, would be such a challenge?

Patrick Huggins – Director

What Happens When You Increase Or Decrease Your Prices?

A little business advice from BHMA!

The table below demonstrates that if you decrease your prices by the percentage number on the left, you will need the increase of business shown in the grey area, in order for your cash profits to remain the same.

Price Decrease Effect Matrix

For example, if you decrease your prices by 6% (ordinarily making 50% margin) and this caused your sales to increase by 6%, it is not worth doing do as you will be 8% margin worse off.


The second table shows the effect of increasing your prices.

If you increase your prices by the percentage number on the left you can reduce business volume as shown in the grey are and still retain the same cash profit.

Price Increase Effect Matrix

For example, if you increase your prices by 6% (Ordinarily making 50% margin) and this causes your sales to fall just 6%, then it is worth doing as you will be 5% margin better off.

Of course we at BHMA like to help, for example our range of chalkboards and menu holders which allow you to make it easy for you to change your prices.

Article by Nikki Slade, Sales Director at BHMA.

Supermarket Merchandising and Marketing Techniques

Wine Of The Month Merchandising DisplayMerchandising has long been a feature of store promotion activities. Goods that are presented to customers in a carefully planned manner will sell better than those that are displayed without thought or care. Neat and tidy is not always the best option, but whichever merchandising strategy is used, it must be appropriate for the products on sale. Merchandising techniques are the final link in the sales chain. After the supermarket layout has been planned with precision, and the customers have been attracted through the marketing strategy, the final step is to present the goods to them in such a way that they can’t refuse them. Some merchandising techniques are listed below.

Sign Color

We have been conditioned to accept that items priced in some colours are good value, or should be bought before they disappear. While most items in a supermarket may be priced in the store colours, some that are being pushed aggressively will be priced in red and yellow. These colours are synonymous with reduced prices and sales, but they can be used to advertise a Special Purchase where there is no price reduction, use warm colours for high profile, attention grabbing prices. These will be seen as value prices, whilst the cooler colours like green, blue, violet for example, will be seen as quality items. This colour difference can even be seen in logos. McDonalds (red and yellow) Body Shop (Green) for example.

Block Stacking

You will be able to grab the attention of your customer much more easily if you block display, or block stack products. As you can see from the picture above, the mass of colours is quite attention grabbing.

Shelf Height as a Sales Tool

As your customer browses your products for sale on your shelves, they spend most time looking at items placed at eye level (head height). Make sure your best profit margins are on these shelves. They may scan lower or higher shelves, but they read pricing and packaging details more easily at this height. Lower shelves should be used for bulky products or low margin ones. Remember the height of your customer, children will have a different eye level to adults, as will disabled people. Children have ‘pester power’ which they use to convince parents to purchase items for them. Use your customers known eye level to your advantage, and use pester power.

Facing is a Display Imperative

Facing is a process whereby goods are brought to the front edge of the shelf, making the display look full. Also the products should be front facing, even when the front product is taken the next one must should stand proud with its label facing forward. With products like hairspray (long tubes) it’s good to front face all but one can, so as to leave a hand hole, otherwise products can be difficult to take.

Retail Theatre

There is a body of thought that says ’the supermarket’ is the only place where the displays constitute a ‘retail theatre’. The presentation of items for sale is not a simple matter of bulk storage and logistics. If your customer can gain the feeling of a lifestyle from the display of your products you will sell more products. Thick carpet and chandeliers showing opulence, can create the lifestyle necessary to sell expensive jewellery, for example. Customers are more tempted by fish displayed in a refridgerated counter on crushed ice, surrounded by the trappings of the sea, than packets on a refrigerated shelf.

Experiment and let us at BHMA know how you got on.

Patrick Huggins – Director.

A-Boards & Pavement Signs


Swinger Pavement Sign

Swinger Pavement Sign

A-boards and pavement signs are a great way of advertising your promotions but choosing one can be a little daunting. The first thing to recognise is the purpose that you need your a-board for, is it permanent advertising sign, to display a poster or for you to write a message or a combination!

Our Swinger Pavement Signs can be digitally printed in full colour on both sides, which enables you to display a permanent message, this type of sign is very versatile and suitable for all types of business from hairdressers to garages! The swinging ability of the sign ensures it is suitable for windy locations and will get noticed.

Our popular and most economic poster holder a-board is our Snap Frame A-board, which is lightweight and easily transportable making this a-frame perfect for exhibitions, indoor advertising and outside in sheltered locations. If you need something a little more substantial then our Swinger Poster Holders are perfect for the job. They can be filled with water or sand to ensure stability, the poster holder itself ‘swings’ in the wind and therefore this pavement sign can be used in many locations and is a popular sign for most high street stores.

Snap Frame A Board

Snap Frame A Board

If it’s a chalkboard pavement sign that you are looking for then the decision has to be the price! Our A1 Chalkboard A-board is perfect if you need something durable, looks clean, smart and won’t break the bank! This a-board is available in A1 size, is suitable for chalk and chalk pens and is perfect for cafes, restaurants, greengrocers and butchers.

You can also combine the two and have a pavement sign that is a chalkboard, holds a poster and has your name or logo at the top! This is available with a lockable poster frame or snap frame, both boards are suitable for all locations, extremely weather resistant, have the ability to be sand bagged and personalised with your logo or business name.

When you are not advertising with a poster, simply write your offeron the chalkboard with either chalkboard pens or traditional chalk, this will always ensure your message is fresh and will get noticed! I hope this has helped you choose your pavement sign, however if you need any further help please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01353 665141.

Drive Sales with a Wine Bottle Shaped Chalkboard

Wine Bottle ChalkboardBHMA Limited, are pleased to be able to launch a new flexible product to assist sales in the declining pub industry. It’s a new wine bottle shaped chalkboard, made from our EaziWipe chalkboard, which is guaranteed against staining for 5 years, and never needs painting. The size is the same as a real wine bottle, 300mm tall and 75mm wide. It can be positioned on a wall, with Velcro (supplied) on its own or in groups to make a real impact, perhaps to show the range of wines with their tasting notes and price.

This same Wine Bottle shaped chalkboard can also be supplied with a varnished hardwood base to hold it vertically, which will assist in selling wines from the bar top or wherever its placed. A third option is to have the Wine Bottle shaped Chalkboard with the base on the side of the bottle to hold it horizontally. In having the bottle in this orientation, it allows for the chalkboard to be included in back bar displays to promote any wine you choose.

The price of this item is extremely good value with the Velcro style being the lowest price at just £4.50. Already we are hearing of sales of wines rising because of the higher visibility of wine being given with this new product.

This video explains how to get the most out of the wine bottle chalkboard.


Encourage your guests to stay a little longer!

Recycled Rustic Wine Display Boxes

With the dark nights approaching persuade your customers to spend longer evenings in your pub and restaurants and encourage them to buy the bottle instead of a glass by creating striking back bar displays with our recycled rustic wine boxes.

Simply fill with wine to create a vintage, cellar feeling. Each fruit box has an authentic stamp on the side and when stacked and filled portrays an abundance that will certainly increase your sales. Each wine box measures 535 x 280 x 370mm, stores 18 bottles and is stackable too.

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