‘Operators can’t just open doors and say buy our beer anymore’

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Positive news: It's happy days at the Anchor, Kent
Positive news: It's happy days at the Anchor, Kent

Related tags Kent Finance

The future looks bright at the Anchor in Wingham, Kent, with remote workers providing the pub with a boost in business.

Since lockdown, many people had moved from cities into the countryside and were using their local pub as a point of reference for networking and socialising, according to licensee Kevin Abbott.

“It’s their mini entertainment centre locally,” he said, “and they really value that. They’re really defensive about their pub. They like the fact they've got the pub, and they're very proud of it.”

These sites were making may for a new client base of remote workers, who took advantage of the pubs WiFi. While night-time trade at the Anchor had “fallen off a cliff,” the pub was getting incredible tea-time trade as it catered to a different mix of professionals.

As far as future trade was concerned, the operator believed the pub was “pretty safe”. With the pub operating in a fairly wealthy area, there were not too many problems relating to the cost-of-living crisis.

More than just a pub

What’s more, Abbott said the pub was not feeling the effects of the staffing shortage. Key staff members were looked after at the pub, meaning sure they were not tempted to go elsewhere, he said.

“Operators, particularly the big operators, cannot just open their doors and say come and buy our beer anymore.”

“10 years ago, there were loads of people in here drinking lots of beer, getting drunk and having a nice time, but it’s almost become more purposeful now.”

He predicted turnover would increase in the new year, as people were using the pub at different times of day.

Business management

However, Abbott had increased prices at the pub to weather heightened costs of goods. The problem was keeping prices affordable in a way that did not affect the turnover.

He advised operators to think about there purpose and be aware of where they were and what they were doing, and where business was coming from. “If you do that, then you can manage it,” he added.

Consumers were looking for something a bit unique, and for operators that had a proper strategy for their business, according to Abbott.

In some ways, the number of businesses shutting down was a positive as quality of operation was “much better” than pre-pandemic, he added. “It brings new things in, it changes things but it makes the overall experience for the customer much better.”

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