The Brickyard in St Albans put a sign up in the ladies toilet offering support to anyone who’s made to feel uncomfortable on a night out. They’re urged to speak to bar staff, who can call them a cab or ask the offending customer to leave.
Licensee James Hanning told the PMA: “No one should have to feel awkward or unsafe if they’re in professionally run premises.
“It’s up to owners and managers to do more and we are glad to have shown the way. We would like every hospitality business to do something similar.”
A customer photographed the sign and posted it on Facebook. The picture racked up 425,000 views in four days on Imgur, and has featured on the PMA, BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Glamour, The Telegraph, The Sun, NYDailyNews, News.com.AU, and ABC.
Hanning said: “The sign has captured the imagination of people across the globe.
It looks like tens of millions have read our sign. It spread like wild fire,”
He has also been interviewed on TalkRadio, BBC Three Counties radio and ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
The Tinder aspect of the sign was inspired by a conversation between bar staff and a customer, who asked if a picture on her phone looked like the man who had arrived to meet her for a date.
“It was a light-hearted conversation, but we realised there was a potential for discomfort and thought that a discrete sign would help give dates the confidence to ask for help,” Hanning explained.
“We would like to see this idea taken seriously. Internet dating has surged in popularity and there appears, from the global interest, to be some nervousness and vulnerability.”
After seeing thousands of comments about the sign, the licensee realised many men were in need of a similar ‘get out of jail free card’.
“Some of the men made comments that they would like to feel they could ask for the help of a female manager if their date wasn’t going well - for assistance in case what they said wasn’t received well when ending an unsuccessful date.”
The pub has since reworded the sign and put a version up in the men’s toilets.
The original sign was a natural progression from the philosophy Hanning’s other site, the Sunrunner in Hitchin.
Hanning continued: “Customer safety and their happiness is our highest priority.
“We have always trained the team to be additionally watchful of groups of women to ensure that anyone approaching them was welcome, and we’d discreetly ask someone in the group if they were happy and intervene when necessary."
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