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How a family turned a struggling pub into award winning venue

PUBLISHED: 08:20 11 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:05 11 October 2019

The team at the Countryman Pub in Tasburgh, who were awarded the prize for best customer service in the South Norfolk Pub Awards. Photo: Countryman

The team at the Countryman Pub in Tasburgh, who were awarded the prize for best customer service in the South Norfolk Pub Awards. Photo: Countryman

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A pub which has undergone massive transformation since new owners took over in April has been voted the friendliest in the region, by its loyal customers.

The Countryman Pub in Tasburgh won South Norfolk friendliest pub of 2019. Photo: GoogleThe Countryman Pub in Tasburgh won South Norfolk friendliest pub of 2019. Photo: Google

The Countryman Pub in Tasburgh won first prize in the best customer service category of South Norfolk's Pub of the Year awards, decided by public vote.

Despite glowing customer reviews on Tripadvisor, new owner Steve Burley, who went from patron to owner last April, said the award came as a big surprise.

The small team, which has been managed by Mr Burley's partner Michelle Young for the past four years, has been described as close-knit by customers, with Ms Young's two daughters and father in law all featuring.

Reflecting on the past five months, Mr Burley said the secret to creating an award winning atmosphere was listening to customer suggestions.

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He said: "We have a massive housing estate opposite the pub but nobody was coming in. In the lead up to taking over we asked people what they wanted.

"It turned out that people didn't feel comfortable coming in for a drink because the pub was so food-oriented. So we made changes."

Since then, the team has created a downstairs bar area with a pool table, which has inspired a new pub team.

The separate restaurant section still boasts an impressive menu, which Mr Burley said will change with the seasons.

The venue's custom skyrocketed over the summer period, and Ms Young said the programme of live music and outdoor BBQ helped the pub make the most of the good weather.

She added: "It's just a great atmosphere here and that is mainly down to the staff. The secret is to be polite, make people feel welcome and don't make them feel like it's an inconvenience that they're there. We're very proud of the team."

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