One licensee who made the most out of technology was Rob Barr of the Onslow Arms in Loxwood, West Sussex.
As well as moving to use an app for ordering and developing the outdoor seating areas, the pub established its own range of sauces, Saucy Cow, which is now used at the venue.
Barr said: “Despite the pandemic being extremely hard on the industry, it has taught us a fair few things.
“Such as our need to be resilient, both personally and from a business perspective, ensuring plans are in place, embracing technology to aid our day-to-day business but most importantly teaching us we need to adapt quickly to external influences.”
Acts of kindness
While licensee of the Unruly Pig in Suffolk, which has just been named number one on the Top 50 Gastropubs list, Brendan Padfield, echoes Barr’s views on technology, having moved to operate as a cashless venue over the pandemic, the most important lessons for him have been in terms of where loyalties lay.
At the start of the pandemic, during the first lockdown, customers of the Unruly Pig came together to support their local.
One customer built the pub software, free of charge, which enabled them to provide takeaways and heat at home meals, while another supplied two marquees, which the pub later bought from him, to enable outdoor trade to continue, which according to Padfield “saved the summer of 2020”.
He said: “A pandemic brings out the best and worst in people, some pandemic acts of kindness will be held long in my memory and make me smile every time I recall them.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, when we were first locked down, I was terrified about the future.
“I wondered if the Unruly Pig would even survive, then the customers weighed in offering not only their encouragement but also their money.
“They bought gift vouchers by the bucket load and offered me loans etc.; they just wanted us to survive.”
However, it was not just pubs which had to adapt over the course of the pandemic, breweries also faced their fair share of challenges, but for Hydes Brewery in Salford, Manchester, the most important thing to come out of the pandemic was the reinforcement of a close-knit team.
Hydes Brewery production director Paul Jefferies said: “We already knew how strong our team was pre-pandemic, but this experience has massively reinforced the resilient and proactive team we’re lucky to have at Hydes.
“It was evident from the very beginning we could get through anything thrown our way if we worked together and continued to support each other; we have always been a tightknit team at Hydes but the pandemic has only solidified that further.”