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What we learnt from the Pioneering Pub People podcast

From the crucial difference between customer care and customer service, to the importance of making time to visit other pubs yourself, the benefits of investing in order & pay apps and implementing a four-day week for staff, our Pioneering Pub People Podcast, in association with the BII, is packed full of insights and advice from some of the best in the business. You can see below for just a few choice highlights from the series…

The importance of failing – Chris Black, Pityme Inn, Cornwall

Whilst most of us have a fear of failing, Licensee of The Year 2021, Chris Black from the Pityme Inn says that trial and error is key to success. Whether you want to champion local produce in your meals or focus on outdoor drinking and dining, it’s important to stick to your gut instincts and learn from any mistakes made. Things do go wrong, things do change and it’s important not to fear it but to improve as a result. To set yourself up for success however, it’s important to get the basics right and provide top service to guests and having the right systems and tech in place has helped the Pityme Inn to achieve this.

Listen to the full episode with Chris here!

Keeping staff happy – Alex and Tanya Williams, The Polgooth Inn, Cornwall

Amidst a staffing crisis in the hospitality sector, it’s more important than ever to make your staff feel valued and Alex and Tanya seem to have managed it perfectly. They have around 40 staff, with the kitchen team on a four-day week, flexible shifts for other staff that provide a good work-life balance, a share of the tips and a good hourly work rate. These simple fixes have worked wonders, resulting in an engaged team who are willing to go above and beyond for customers, resulting in great customer service. Tech has also played its part in this – for example, Alex and Tanya have invested in a handheld EPoS system to alleviate pressure on staff and help them deliver brilliant customer experiences.

Listen to the full episode with Alex and Tanya here!

Engage with the local community – David Hage and Mark Osborne, The Railway in Lowdham

David and Mark at The Railway have really delivered on providing great food that draws in customers from far and wide, as well as being a hub for the local community. Staff greeting customers with a smile is essential but so is the layout of the pub. For example, separating the bar area from the restaurant ensures that locals are not put off the idea of popping in for a drink on their own. For destination diners, the team at The Railway have found their online booking system to be invaluable, as it not only gives customers a simple and friction-free way to book but it also helps the team better manage covers in-venue and continue to provide exceptional service.

Listen to the full episode with David and Mark here!

It’s about customer care, not customer service! – Cassie Davison, The Gate Hangs Well, Syston

It sounds simple, but the success of a pub isn’t just about providing customer service – it’s about customer care, says Cassie. Pubs are places where people go to relax and are a safe space for people to forget about the stresses of everyday life. Therefore, in order to provide that customer care, the key is teaching your staff to understand the true meaning of the word ‘hospitality’ and remind them why they work in the industry in the first place. By helping staff to understand what it is that makes serving customers so great and by employing staff who have the same values as you, teams can offer customers unrivalled experiences and keep them coming back time and time again.

Listen to the full episode with Cassie here!

Leverage customer data and take time to learn from other operators – Amanda and Nick Herring, The Heron, Cornwall

Learning from the business decisions made by other operators can inspire you to implement new, creative ideas into a venue. Amanda and Nick Herring of The Heron in Cornwall often take time out to visit London and other areas to check out pubs and chat to fellow operators. They use the insight to inspire them and to assess their own business. For example, they implemented online ordering and payment and labour management tools during the pandemic. Initially this was just to help them operate through all the various levels of restrictions, but they found the technology delivered far more benefits, helping them streamline their operations, cut costs, and improve the customer experience.

We also know that the hospitality industry is an incredibly supportive sector. Through the pandemic, for example, we saw pub operators sharing knowledge and advice to others on how to weather the storm and that continues to be the case. Why not visit other pubs and share knowledge in order to gain perspective on your own business’ successes and areas for improvement?

Listen to the full episode with Amanda and Nick here!

To stream the complete Pioneering Pub People podcast series, click here!

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