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Getting ready to re-open?

Award winning licensees serve tips on opening up for outside trade

It’s finally been confirmed that hospitality can begin its long-awaited return from hibernation on April 12.

And there’s plenty of  live sport on offer for the pubs and clubs that will be able to open up for external trading.

But how do you make the most of the opportunity and ensure customers want to spend time outside with you?

We caught up with three BT Sport Manager of the Month winners who are all gearing up for re-opening at the earliest available opportunity.


The Chequers, Leicestershire

The Chequers, in Swinford, gained national attention when it was painted blue and white to celebrate Leicester City’s unbelievable Premier League title win in 2016.

Foxes fans could be celebrating again soon with the FA Cup and Champions League qualification still up for grabs this season.

It means that the FA Cup semi-final between Leicester City and Southampton on Sunday April 18 (6.30pm) on BT Sport has come at a great time for the pub.

Licensee Brian Priest says it should be a successful day.

“We’ve already taken bookings for lunch that day from our local football team and their opposition. They will be there for lunch and then there’s the semi-final later which we’d expect to be busy for.”

A great line-up of sport, with the likes of the FA Cup, Champions League and, later in the summer, the Euros, will all be factors in the success of the Chequers.

As will the weather.

“Opening up is worth it for us because we have a big garden. We can get 10 to 12 tables in the marquee and a similar number outside, so we can get more than 100 people. But even in the marquee it will be dependent on what the weather is like. Only the most hardcore will want to be outside in the rain.”

Unfortunately, the outside huts Brian invested in cannot be used until May at the earliest, due to Covid trading restrictions. However, he believes investing in an ordering app has paid off.

The Cabbage Patch, Twickenham

Stuart Green says the investment in technology has benefited his business at the world famous rugby pub.

“The app has actually helped with upselling because customers spend more time browsing on there than they would at the bar and they are choosing to buy more cocktails or try different things.”

Stuart and his team have been getting ready for April 12 by having “a total spring clean and revisiting the outside space.”

He has introduced more 50 and 60 inch TVs so that approximately 90 per cent of guests will be able to have a great view of a screen showing live sport.

As you would expect, he will be showing plenty of rugby as well as the culmination of the UEFA Champions League and Premier League campaigns.

“The Gallagher Premiership is going to be good for us. At the moment Harlequins are in the play-off places so that will be massive.”

He has also invested further in technology to ensure his customers have the best possible experience fans can, while stadiums largely remain closed.

“We have upgraded everything to HD and invested in our external speakers,” he adds.

The Royal Dyche, Burnley

The Burnley pub named after the club’s popular manager has previously invested in improving its outside space.

It has a marquee that can hold around 80 people, with TVs at either end.

The next few weeks will give licensee Justine an indication of what might come with the Euros later in the summer.

One of her biggest concerns is ensuring that local customers do not miss out when the pub reopens.

“We are not going to run a booking service because a lot of our clientele do not have smart phones so they would be the ones missing out. We will operate on a first come, first served basis and if people want to wait, they can.

“We have built a bar outside so we will be doing table service with the staff out there.”

Keen to see how BT Sport could support your business?