Jacqui Winrow, joint licensee of the Heatons Bridge Inn with her husband Steve, said the premises had been run on a 48-hour ordering schedule under their previous pubco but following the changeover and introduction of a longer delivery time, the pub ran out of beer twice in May.
She said the longer time lag is making it very difficult to plan ahead and when the pub runs out of stock, it can’t get a new order fast enough.
“If we order too much, we can’t store it as we have a relatively small cellar. If we order too little then we have to pay extra for an off-day,” she said.
Efforts to find a solution
Winrow said she thought that part of the issue was that the delivery was now coming from Wakefield rather than a closer depot at Preston.
The licensee said her area manager has tried to rearrange delivery times to suit the pub but no solution has been found yet.
A spokesperson for Star Pubs & Bars told The Morning Advertiser: "We work hard to support the order and delivery requests of our 2,900 licensees. We’ve approached KNDL, who control the delivery schedule, to accommodate the licensee's requests as much as possible.
"KNDL have now offered the licensee a next-day delivery option for a Monday order."
The spokesperson also said a 96-hour ordering and delivery schedule was not uncommon in the industry and added that KNDL has confirmed that, with the exception of the occasional delivery from Wakefield, the pub's deliveries currently come from Preston.
Commenting on the offer of a Monday order to be delivered on Tuesday, Winrow explained that it wouldn’t work because Monday and Tuesday are “the only time that we can have off... and it has been that way for seven years”.
She said they wouldn’t be able to change the days because other nights are busy nights for the business, so it could affect trade.
“If they are able to do next-day delivery, then why can’t the day be changed to a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday or even a Saturday. But they don’t work on Saturdays, they are there Monday to Friday.”
She explained that the publicans needed to protect their time off because they work weekends and bank holidays. “We need it for quality time with family and for other things we need to contend with like dentist or doctor's appointments, personal shopping or errands, normal every day stuff, which we often cram into a half day.
“We’re not a managed house, we don’t have an array of assistant managers, general managers, chefs and cleaners.”