Firstly, however, Jonathan Smith, partner at licensing solicitors Poppleston Allen, said operators should consider the licensing conditions when converting to a shop.
Operators should look into “the need to amend licence conditions to comply with the change of operation and the need to amend the licence if there are structural works taking place to premises which would need licensing approval.”
They will also have to ascertain if there is permission for off sales of alcohol and check “if there is a restriction on the lease (there often is) with their Landlord which restricts how the premises can trade i.e as a pub only.”
No panic buying
One operator who experienced customers’ desperation for essential goods in the first lockdown, after panic buying left supermarkets with empty shelves, is chef-owner Jesse Dunford Wood.
Dunford Wood runs the gastropub Parlour in Kensal Green, north-west London and has been selling food relating to special occasions and experiences rather than essentials in the third lockdown so far.
“We were literally selling bog roll in the first lockdown," he explained. "We were selling really basic things because nobody could get them. It was mental. We had a 10ft high pile of toilet paper in the front door when people walked in and everyone was desperate for it.
“Now supermarkets are more organised, there's no panic buying per se.
"Certain people have cash because they can't spend it, and it's their wife's birthday or it's Sunday and they don't know how to cook. So they’ll still want a bit of an experience."
“The November lockdown was a bit weird and it wasn't so busy," Dunford Wood continued. "I was just a bit tentative about this lockdown as well so we have done less shop and focused more on events, celebrations, takeaway food to help with that, rather than selling fruit and vegetables and essentials that people were more desperate in the first lockdown.”
The gastropub will be focusing on special days, such as French Epiphany celebrations (Wednesday 6 January) and Valentine’s Day, in addition to offers such as fish and chips on Fridays.
Offers will also be focused on cooking activities parents can do with children off school such as bread making kits or pre-made packed lunches to help working parents.
Dunford Wood added: “You have to be really reactive right now. It's shifting sands and an ever-changing landscape at the moment. You've got to be really flexible with offers and changes. Unfortunately you cant plan too much. You can't think further than a week ahead, even if that."
"You have got to be really in touch with what is going on in the street as it were."