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Pubs and restaurants are reopening slowly, and beer gardens up and down the country are beginning to fill up.

Just what has the last 12 months been like from a hospitality point of view though? Our hospitality manager Paul Huntington has seen first hand the changes, and below, talks about the safe return of hospitality in the coming months.

Paul on hospitality returning to Saltaire Brewery this spring/summer
The keyword for us throughout the pandemic has been “safe” and making sure that our customers and staff feel safe when they’re with us.

We have fantastic outside areas, as well as the Tap Room and event space. We’ve also got an additional outside area to add in the yard if necessary, so we can become slightly more adventurous.

Hospitality venues, certainly in the short term, are about the outside areas. So from our point of view, it’s making everyone feel safe, and maintaining the high standards.

I think people are obviously looking forward to the pubs opening fully.

Paul on pubs reopening and future hospitality plans for Saltaire
Outside areas will inevitably draw crowds. I think we’ve seen that already, and when people start returning to work fully, numbers will increase further because the confidence to start going out more will be back.

At Saltaire, we’re lucky because we’re off the beaten track, and don’t have a large number of residential properties near us.

From an organisational point of view, we have a well devised queuing and booking system where everyone has to sign in before they’re in the beer garden.

So this helps us manage and monitor things. If there are any changes, and there’s been a fair few over the last year, we try to keep our customers informed as frequently as possible.

We’re also lucky in that we have a good team with good ideas. I think we’ve adapted really well to the table service experience and have found a better way of doing things.

We’ve added more picnic benches in line with the regulations and are always trying to set the highest standards regardless of the challenges.

At the end of the day, it’s all about a safe experience for our customers and we definitely provide that.

It’s a different day at work that’s for sure, especially when you’re temperature checking people, but it’s something we’ve embraced.

In “normal” circumstances, we host a beer festival each year. That would see around 2000 people visit us over a weekend, and on a more regular basis there’s our monthly beer club on a Friday, which is great fun. The beer club would typically see around 500 people coming through the gates, and includes a hog roast, and big marquee in the garden.

At the moment though, we’re just easing back into things gradually, but we’re looking forward to starting to serve the public again.

Paul on hospitality in general
In 2021/22 we’ll be following the lockdown roadmap, and altering things when and if necessary in line with health and safety. We’ve shown how well we can adapt with social distancing, outdoor seating, and through our ability to make safer outdoor areas.

The additional challenge is to keep the service levels as high as possible, and to make sure that we are at the forefront of any other changes.

We hope that if people aren’t travelling abroad this summer, they’ll come to us instead. We have a destination venue that will enhance people’s staycation experience, and we’re looking forward to welcoming some old and new faces in the coming months.

If you'd like to speak to a member of our team, get in touch with us today.

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