Bright idea's the Key factor

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Licensees Ross and Debbie Graham, of the Cross Keys pub, Gloucester, won the Innovator of the Year Award at this year's Unique Pub Company Awards ­...

Licensees Ross and Debbie Graham, of the Cross Keys pub, Gloucester, won the Innovator of the Year Award at this year's Unique Pub Company Awards ­ after opening a cyber café in the pub and a shop selling imported South African goods. Ross and Debbie are originally from South Africa and took over the Cross Keys 18 months ago ­ business has increased by 50% since they introduced their innovations. Debbie said: "When we took over, we found that a lot of space was not being used to its full potential. "After experimenting with swapping around the lounge and the public bar area, we finally settled on a sports bar in thelarger part of the pub, for theregulars to drink in, leaving the smaller back area for the shop and cyber café. "It's been amazing how successful the shop and cyber café have been. Both have been incredibly popular and our sales have really improved. "There are quite a lot of South Africans in the area and they love being able to get authentic food from the shop ­ anything from biscuits, wine and chocolate to our own unique dried meat, called Biltong. They come from miles around. She added that the cyber café is also doing really well and attracts people of all ages from 14 upwards. "Once a month a computer club meets here to use the facilities and they always stay and use the pub too," she said. "We're really proud of what we've achieved.

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