Tesco becomes pub operator (for a couple of days).

Tesco becomes pub operator (for a couple of days).
© Tesco

Tesco is pushing its marketing fully into the experiential sphere with the opening of a pop-up pub ahead of the Coronation in central London that is both showcasing its products and raising money for charity.


The King in the Castle is open on May 4 & 5 and is decked throughout with hanging floral displays and bunting while outside the venue there is a sampling station for passers-by to try bite-sized portions of the menu, such as the Coronation King Prawn Sandwich and Coronation-themed cupcakes.

Inside the pub a Coronation-themed menu features products from the Tesco limited-edition Coronation food range that are available in its stores nationwide. The daytime menu includes a Royal High Tea, with a tea-inspired cocktail served in a tea pot, along with cakes, scones, and both King Prawn and Burford Brown egg sandwiches while in the evening guests can enjoy a gastropub-style dining experience with a menu including Camilla’s King Prawn Curry, Roast SIR’loin Steak and cocktails that include the King’s rumoured favourite tipple, a gin martini, served with a crown-shaped lemon twist, as well as a trifle-inspired bellini.

Royal High Tea © Tesco
Camilla's king prawn curry by Tesco
Camilla’s King Prawn Curry © Tesco

Alessandra Bellini, chief customer officer at Tesco, says: “The Coronation is a historic moment and we want to help our customers celebrate it. As one of the most enduring parts of British culture, pubs have traditionally been an important part of local communities and so a pub felt like the perfect way to bring people together to mark this special occasion and enjoy delicious food. What’s more, we’ll donate £250,000 from the proceeds of sales of our limited-edition Coronation range in-store, along with all proceeds from the pub to The Prince’s Trust so we can all enjoy food that both tastes good, and does good.”

This is the first time Tesco has opened a pub but it has previously experimented with operating a hospitality venue because back in 2016 it ran a Tesco Finest pop-up wine bar in London’s Soho that opened for almost two weeks. Customers were able to sample 48 of the supermarket’s Finest branded wines. 

The bar was very much about promoting the range and educating shoppers about the wines through various tasting flights. It did not sell whole bottles but highlighted three Tesco stores nearby where customers could buy the wines they liked with a £3 money off voucher for bottles priced over £10.

It is unlikely these initiatives will lead to any permanent Tesco-run hospitality outlets but it does suggest the grocery business is experimental with its marketing and it would be exciting to see similar activity in the future.