THE PUNTERS are queuing up to enjoy a drink at a pub offering table service due to the pandemic.
Daphne Leck, who has run The Merrie Lion in Fenny Compton for the last eight years, has found providing drinkers with table service means they order more than they would queuing up at the bar.
And because of the increase in drink sales, Daphne is planning on keeping the service even after restrictions are eventually lifted.
She said: “With the restrictions imposed on us by covid-19, we decided to implement table service for drinkers, as maintaining social distancing at our bar would have been almost impossible.
“We weren’t sure how successful it would be. But since introducing it, our drinks sales have actually gone up rather than down.
“What we’ve found is that drinkers who are directly asked ‘would you like another drink’ by our waiting staff are more likely to say ‘yes’, simply because it’s less hassle than having to queue up at a busy bar.
“I’d say each drinker – who isn’t driving of course – tends to have one more pint than they would have done before, which is adding up to a good boost in sales.
“I think retaining table service for those who want it after COVID restrictions are gone will be a great idea for us.”
While table service has been successful for the Merrie Lion, other aspects of running a pub post-lockdown have proven more challenging.
Daphne added: “Convincing visitors to stay in their seats is not easy – the whole point of coming to a pub for many people is to meet and mingle with others.
“Our trade is very weather-dependent. When it is sunny, we can always serve people outside, but our indoor capacity is limited with the social distancing restrictions. If it rains, our sales drop drastically.
But she is remaining optimistic about the pub’s future of The Merrie Lion.
A grant awarded to the pub by Stratford District Council was able to keep it afloat during lockdown and has provided an extra lifeline.
She added: “If I can just make it through the winter when business tends to be slower, I’ll be really happy.”