The six-strong operator TLC Inns saw trade plummet by up to 60%. “The weekend was a disaster,” said co-founder Steve Haslam.
“Each of our pubs were affected, apart from Grand Central [in Basildon, Essex], which held up pretty well because it’s on a main road.
“Any pubs off the beaten track were down 50% to 60%. It was just phone call after phone call cancelling bookings. I could do with the snow clearing by this weekend as we have lots of bookings and it’s the ‘recovery weekend’ after Christmas.”
John Weir, chief executive of the 26-strong Wear Inns in the north-east of England, said the company had seen like-for-like sales fall by 5% to 6% on Friday and Saturday, but added that “it could have been a lot worse”.
London-based Geronimo Inns’ sites in the City were quieter on Friday because of a lack of workers. However, Young & Co’s commercial director Ed Turner said: “Geronimo sites are mainly in residential areas, and they have been busy because people haven’t left London.”
Some pubs saw no trade when the snow hit on Friday last week. Tom Adams, licensee of the Nags Head Tavern in Thornfalcon, Somerset, said: “There’s nothing we can do about it. We’ve just got to enjoy the time off.”
The Pony & Trap in Chew Magna, Somerset, had to close because staff were unable to get to the pub.
Other pubs were also left with delays in deliveries. Philip Lay, retail director at SA Brain, explained some sites had to wait until Monday of this week for beer.
However, he said its community pubs “enjoyed excellent sales over the weekend”. The company’s town-centre outlets were more affected by the snow.
Admiral Taverns’ commercial manager Simon Eyles said lorries were unable to reach pubs in the south-west. “Some lorries had to turn back on police advice as they began to close roads on Friday morning — notably in large areas of South Wales. Therefore, inevitably, some deliveries were pushed back to Saturday, and for three of our pubs, to Sunday.”
Heineken also saw deliveries affected for a small number of pubs in the south, while some Enterprise Inns sites were also hit.
It was not all doom and gloom as the PMA reported that some pubs saw trade increase by 100%.