This follows operators’ calls for Government support after a survey by The Morning Advertiser showed nearly three quarters of pubs were unlikely to survive the winter unless action was taken to solve the energy crisis.
More than 65% of operators said they’d seen utility costs increase by more than 100%, while 30% reported a jump of 200% and 8% reported leaps of more than 500%. Nearly 80% of operators said they could not afford the increase in energy costs.
Gareth Ostick, owner of the White Swan at Fence in Burnley, Lancashire, dubbed the energy crisis a “bit of a nightmare” for operators and consumers alike.
Warmth and comfort essential
He said running a pub made it hard to cut down on electricity bills: “If you're offering hospitality, you've got to offer a nice warm building where people feel comfortable, so you can't advise people to come in a woolly jumper to cut down on energy as that’s not very hospitable.”
However, Ostick undertook small measures like raising the drink’s fridges temperatures from 5 degrees Celsius to 7 degrees Celsius so they used less energy.
He also anticipated a “silver lining of winter”: as consumers’ electricity bills shot up, they might migrate to pubs for free heating.
This meant pubs could be packed full of people, which would naturally warm up the indoor space. “Fingers crossed,” he said. “We’re only a little cosy pub, but if I get 40 to 30 people in here, then I don't need to put the heating on.”
Co-owner of the Greyhound in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire Daniel Crump said he had started up special training modules geared around managing energy efficiently, as the pub saw quotes for almost double its annual spend.
Other than this, he said the pub was already disciplined when it came to using resource to both control costs and manage its impact on the environment.
Scott Law, the Duncombe Arms newly appointed head chef, also said that the team had always strived to save energy in the kitchen of the Ashbourne-based pub. Equipment was only turned on when needed, rather than old practises of turning the oven on first thing.
While cooking techniques had not been changed at the venue, Law said in the future, the pub would consider using energy efficient equipment to reduce energy waste and cut down its carbon footprint.
Efficiency was also key at the Rising Sun in Truro, Cornwall, where energy bills have been steadily climbing over the past year. Owner and chef Thomas Hannon said the team were switching off equipment when it was not in use, and making sure staff were using appliances correctly.
“Every little counts”, added Hannon, and said all preparation tended to be completed at once and all stove work was done at the same time, before the ovens were switched off. “It’s much more efficient than we were two or three years ago,” he said.