Restaurant group keen to make this year’s Christmas ‘one to remember’
- Credit: Archant
A pub and restaurant group are continuing to gear up for Christmas celebrations with plans in place at popular venues.
With last orders temporarily called this week, management at Moss and Co closed the seven venues it runs across the area at 10pm on Wednesday night.
It comes after prime minister Boris Johnson announced a month-long national lockdown at the weekend – but the group has confirmed they “will be back” as soon as they are allowed.
Reopening its venues on July 4 following significant investment after the first lockdown, the Moss and Co group has now had to furlough all 131 of its staff.
The group, which runs The Angel Inn at Wangford, The Bell Inn in Carlton Colville, The Commodore in Oulton Broad, The Jolly Sailors in Pakefield, The Village Maid in Lound and The Waveney in Oulton Broad, has also taken on the short lease of a new pub recently – The Lady of The Lake in Oulton Broad.
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Andrew Rogers, part of the management group at Moss and Co said: “We will be putting all staff on furlough – 131 in total – and we will use this time to give all the venues a small renovation with all them needing a lick of paint after the busy summer.
“We’ll also be continuing to preapre for our Christmas celebrations and plans.”
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From November 13, The Jolly Sailors pub in Pakefield will be offering a takeaway service once more, after it had proved very successful before.
Mr Rogers said: “Since July 4 we have seen amazing support from our loyal customers and plenty of new ones too.
“We decided to take on a short lease of a new pub in Oulton Broad – The Lady of The Lake to help us accommodate our patrons with the restrictions on capacity and that was working very well.
“The weather has been excellent which really helped the group as we have great beer gardens in all of our sites.”
After enjoying record numbers amid an “unbelievable month” in August, Moss and Co put its own Eat Out to Help Out-style offers in place for the past two months.
Mr Rogers said: “The Eat Out to Help Out 50 per cent off scheme was an incredible success for all of our sites and we decided to keep it going through September and October with us obviously footing the bill.
“There was no denying that the winter was going to be very difficult but the loss of another month will clearly make it harder – we just need to stay positive and hope that we can have an excellent December which is so important to the whole hospitality trade.
“We invested during the first lockdown in all of the gardens – especially The Waveney – and we have had superb feedback.
“Once we got through lockdown and the guidelines changed we knew that capacity in the colder months would become an issue so we then invested in The Lady of the Lake which in essence added another 70 seats indoors.
“We concentrate there on real ales and craft beers with over 50 different varieties available.”
Mr Rogers said the group are seeing an increase of about 20pc in footfall across their sites.
He said: “It showed people had the confidence to visit our sites. We put in place plenty of safety measures and we often received comments that people felt perfectly safe and were happy to return on multiple occasions.
“We have seen an initial increase in footfall since the latest lockdown was announced and we thank everyone for giving us that last little boost before closure.”
Moss and Co confirmed that they will support “a local homeless charity” if they have any food they are unable to keep.
Mr Rogers added: “I think this year has showed how good a community we have without us really realising it – and the pub is a key part of it.
“Obviously the latest lockdown is a massive blow for us, to lose all of our turnover across seven sites – but if it helps drive the numbers down then it will be worth it.
“At the end of the day we want our staff and customers to be safe and if closing will help then we are all for it.
“The important thing for us is that we are able to have a good crack at Christmas as its so important for the industry to help make it through to the spring.
“If we can get close to a normal festive period it will not only be great for us but for everyone as we have all had a tough year and Christmas could be the lift everybody needs.
“We have all of our festive menus ready and now we can get all the pubs decorated for Christmas – so we are ready to go with a bang.
“Christmas bookings are being taken online.”