Customers urged to support local pubs, restaurants and cafes to boost hospitality sector
- Credit: Mark Atherton
The hospitality sector has taken a huge hit during the pandemic, with forced closures, constantly changing rules and restrictions, staffing and supply chain issues and financial troubles.
But this month, customers are being encouraged to offer a helping hand to local pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes and hotels by booking a table, popping in for a drink or treating yourself to a night away.
September 18 marks National Hospitality Day, a UK-wide initiative that urges customers to support the hospitality sector, which has been brought to its knees by the pandemic.
A combined project between charities Hospitality Action, The Drinks Trust, Springboard and Licensed Trade Charity, the day is a chance for foodies to show support for their local restaurants, pubs, cafes and hotels by heading down and dining out.
Many venues have had to adapt to be able to continue serving customers during the pandemic.
Allstars Sports Bar in Weston’s Regent Street expanded into the bar next door, set up an outside seating area and bought more TVs to enable people to watch their favourite sports outside.
Owner Peter Wallington said: “It’s been a tough year, but we are using what we’ve got and we’ve built our own outdoor seating area.
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“We recognised that Regent Street was pedestrianised and we wanted to have more seating outside. The little downstairs bar next to us was available so we took that on and converted that with more TVs.
“We also served lots of food outside and locals and holidaymakers supported us in a big way. We bought two external TVs so people could watch sports outside, and we’ve got fires we can roll out when it’s chilly.
“We had to purchase lots of extra furniture for Euro2020 because everybody had to be seated, but a lot of people supported it in a big way so that was highly successful.”
The sports bar is home to Weston Pool League which is back up and running again and the venue has several events coming up including the Anthony Joshua fight on September 25 and the Tyson Fury fight on October 9.
Pete added: “We are very optimistic that people will continue to support us. They love our food and sport on the big screens, and pool and darts. It’s a social event, rather than just sitting around. We are addressing something that people clearly want and demand is very high for it.”
The Walnut Tree, in Winterstoke Road, is encouraging people to continue supporting pubs during the winter after a challenging 18 months.
Frank Sprackman took over the pub with is wife in January 2020 and had to close three months later when the first lockdown was announced.
Since the pub reopened, eight tables have been added to the pub garden to enable more people to sit outside. Staff have also been putting on family fun days over the summer to attract customers.
Frank said: “It’s been challenging to say the least to maintain a consistent trade and to ensure the guests are always receiving the very best service and products day in day out. This is not just down to the customers being unsure if it’s ok to visit, but with consistent isolations and now the ongoing supplier issues with beer delivery strikes and consistent short on delivery issues.
“The hospitality trade has been hit with one of the hardest times I’ve ever known and we are relying on the local community to all support local and continue using their local pubs and restaurants, especially through these winter months as this is when the tough will get tougher for us. We have numerous loans to pay back which we had to take out through lockdowns and the repayments will not ease through the quiet periods.
“We have done many family events through the summer which have been very successful, the last of which was a breakfast with Peppa Pig and Chase from Paw Patrol. We were fully booked for this.”
The pub’s next breakfast event is taking place on October 29, with a visit from the Minions.