The Oakman Group said it is encouraged by an “excellent” first full week of trading figures since customers were allowed to return to a pub environment, albeit for outdoor-only service.
Like-for-like sales were up 34% versus the same week in 2019, while total sales increased 51%.
Oakman Group’s executive chairman, Peter Borg-Neal, said: “These sales are way above our expectations, particularly given that the like-for-likes are against Easter 2019. This success is testament to a superb job by Dermot King and his team with respect to our pre-opening training and our investment in our outside spaces.
“Average sales across the Oakman Inn brand were well in excess of £40,000 net last week – although we did see huge polarisation across the estate driven by the size and amenity of the respective outdoor spaces.”
The chain said it has also seen a great start from The Grand Junction Arms in Tring, which it recently acquired from The Punch Pub Group.
“We are planning to expand and develop it shortly and, given that it achieved sales of £38,000 last week from a standing start, we are very optimistic about what we can achieve with the site,” said Mr Borg-Neal.
“We have also commenced work this week on our sites in both Buckingham and Wokingham which will open in September.”
The company said the public’s appetite for a sociable, responsible and relaxing time with friends and family has not diminished.
It has 90% advance bookings on key trading days for the next six weeks over the 28 sites that are currently trading.
Despite this, Mr Borg-Neal warned: “As an industry, we cannot forget that three in four hospitality venues remain closed because either they don’t have the outdoor space, or they can’t create a bio-secure environment that meets local council requirements.
“Having vaccinated almost two thirds of the adult population, it’s vital the government is driven by data and not dates and sticks to its roadmap allowing pubs to serve guests safely inside from 17 May or sooner, or we will lose the backbone of many rural communities, which is constantly undervalued by the governing elites.”
Oakman Group plans to reopen its six Seafood Pubs and their latest acquisition, The Woburn, from 17 May.