The future of pubs – learning for all businesses?

I visited the Casual Dining Show this week, primarily to see two of our clients who were exhibiting at the show, but while I was there I listened to a panel discussion titled “Future Directions of the Pub Sector” featuring the following four speakers
Brian Whiting, Founder Whiting & Hammond
David McGattie, ALMR
Steve Haslam, TLC Inns
Anthony Pender, Yummy Pubs

During the discussion, a number of points were made which while focussed on the pub sector, struck me as having a relevance to most businesses:
“If we enjoy it, the customer probably will” – most of us make a better job of things we enjoy, and our enthusiasm is likely to rub off on customers.
“Our edge is in customer experience” – not true of all businesses, but even for those with a discernible performance advantage, it’s often the experience that customers remember and tell others about.
“Bigger competitors can be more efficient and consistent but can’t beat us on flexibility and customer service” – smaller businesses can be closer to our customers and turn that to our advantage.
“The best way to build loyalty is to deliver excellence” – I’m not ready to abandon loyalty schemes, but they should build on strength, not attempt to compensate for poor performance.
“Poor reviews often result from the wrong expectations” – are we sufficiently ruthless in customer profiling or do we sometimes knowingly sell to people who are looking for something we don’t really do?
“Our biggest cost is our people” – while this doesn’t apply to all businesses, it made me wonder if there is a correlation between the cost breakdown of a business and the value breakdown for the customer. In an ideal world, shouldn’t the things that cost the most add the most value to the customer? If not, why pay for them?