Thanks for being one of our supporters. You will have heard a lot about pubs being under threat due to the long closure and you’re probably wondering what the future holds for your pub.
The truth is that we really need the strong support of our guests to survive the next few months. We are an independent company, built from scratch over nearly twenty years, with no big backers. We have always tried to do things the right way for our team, our guests and our suppliers. We have won many awards and have been named one of the Sunday Times Top 100 Employers for the last four years. When forced to close, we furloughed our whole team and topped up wages in some cases. We paid all our suppliers for the food and drink they’d delivered, helping to save jobs in the supply chain we will all need on re-opening, something most businesses in our position did not or could not do.
Then, in our pubs with larger kitchens, we set up not-for-profit hubs and raised money (with brilliant support from our guests) to provide thousands of meals to the NHS and local charities. We have also run a take-away food service from these pubs, allowing our regulars occasional relief from the hot stove. We haven’t made a penny from this, putting any surplus back into food for the needy. And we couldn’t have done it without the wonderful volunteers who stepped forward from among our team.
When we are able to re-open, there are clearly going to be restrictions on the numbers of guests we can welcome at one time. And we don’t yet know how many of our regulars will continue to stay at home, however much they’d like to be in the pub. What we do know is that we need to return towards normal levels of trade as soon as possible for our pubs to be viable. Some of our landlords have been understanding, but about half are still demanding that we pay rent in full for the period when we could not trade. And we have not been eligible for government grants, access to which was (bizarrely) restricted so as to exclude the businesses that support the most jobs.
Whether we are able to survive to go on serving the community we love being part of is really up to you. If you want us to be there, then please visit as often as you can (or order a take-away if you can’t) and work with us in accepting the restrictions we may all be under for a while. It would really help if you could book direct through our website so we can manage table planning and minimise queueing, and we hope you will understand that we may need to “turn” tables to accommodate as many guests as possible on busy nights. If you can spread your visits through the week that would also be a big help. Prices may need to be a little higher to help us and our quality food producers rebuild and we hope you can understand the need for this right now.
We all want to be able to get back to the good old days of spending time with our friends in our local, over pints of good beer, decent wine and quality food. We are determined to make the experience as sociable as possible when we re-open, while at the same time as safe as possible, training our team thoroughly to follow whatever hygiene and distancing guidelines are In place, and helping our guests to do the same.
We can only get through this difficult time together by supporting the businesses that are really key to our community’s wellbeing. We really hope you feel that your pub is one of these.
We can’t wait to see you.