Greene King today unveiled the first formal details of how its pubs will look and operate ahead of their re-opening next month.
The managed pub company and brewer has spent £15m on PPE and other measures to ensure a safe return to trading as part of a ‘Pub Safe’ programme that comprises set of five promises to its team and customers.
All of Greene King’s 1,700 managed pubs will follow the scheme, which centres around hygiene and safety, while maintaining the atmosphere of the Great British pub.
A new safe socialising layout is being introduced in the pubs, with clear signage to direct customers through the pub.
Tables will be spaced further apart in line with any government guidelines and customers will be encouraged to pre-book a table rather than stand at the bar.
The bar service area will have perspex screens and screening will be positioned between booths where necessary.
There will be new one-in-one-out red and green indicators at the entrances to the toilets so customers can flip the indicator with their elbow as they enter and exit, with toilets cleaned every 15 minutes.
Teams are undergoing comprehensive training ahead of reopening and will be temperature-checked ahead of every shift.
Investment is also being made in additional team members to keep hygiene standards high.
As part of its pledge to minimise contact between team members and customers, Greene King is rolling out its Order and Pay app, ahead of schedule, to all its managed pubs.
Customers will be encouraged to download it and place food and drink orders from the comfort of their table, paying contactless via the app.
The pubs will provide one-time-use menus that customers can take away or be disposed of in a sustainable way at the pub, cutlery will be wrapped and condiments in sachets or in fresh ramekins.
A pub host will be on hand at the entrance of the pub to welcome each customer, show them to their table and manage queues.
Customers will be asked to use the hand sanitiser stations at the entrance on arrival and utilise the many stations placed in key positions during their visit.
The fifth pledge by Greene King is that every pub will have its own dedicated Pub Safe Monitor, a team member, easily identifiable by their uniform, with the responsibility of ensuring that additional cleaning of tables and public space is done swiftly and efficiently.
The monitor will also be the clear point of contact for any customer or team member who wishes to raise a concern.
In return for the Pub Safe promises Greene King is asking its customers to follow the safe socialising measures in place, respect its teams as they keep everyone safe, help minimise contact by using the Greene King app to order and pay, maintain personal hand hygiene whilst in the pub and let the Pub Safe Monitor know if they have any concerns.
Nick Mackenzie, CEO at Greene King, said: “The safety of our customers and team members is always our number one priority and against the backdrop of a slow recovery from Covid-19, we are investing to put in place all the necessary arrangements.
“Of course, customers will notice some differences when they return but it’s important that alongside implementing the changes, we maintain the very essence of the great British pub.”
“Many pubs across the country, including a number of our own, will not be financially viable or able to open for operational reasons with the current restrictions in place and we hope that, for the future of our industry, these measures will be short-lived.
“We are working towards a phased re-opening and are planning to open as many as we can. However, the future of our industry is reliant on continued support from government and reducing social distancing from two metres to one would make it possible for many more pubs across the country to be viable.”
Last week, Greene King’s managing director for premium, brewing and urban, discussed how the group was preparing for reopening in an episode of Market Talk.
View the full episode below.