Brewhouse & Kitchen — the 22-site national brewpub group — has reported 2.9% like-for-like sales growth in its first week trading post the Covid19 lockdown.

Chester Brewhouse Kitchen

As the sector embarks on bringing vital footfall and revenue back through its doors in a safe and responsible manner, the group attributes this strong start to a measured and gradual approach to the reo-pening of its brewpubs, the considerable amount of engagement and development with the team during the lockdown period, a positive and clear message to guests about the new measures in place, and all while innovating its offer to adapt swiftly.

The company has benefited from a phased method of return, one that has seen one site opening every weekday since last week, followed by two sites per day this week. This has not only given Brewhouse & Kitchen’s team the confidence to transform their service for guests, but has also delivered a safe and professional trading environment. 

In order to keep the welfare of guests and teams the main priority, as well as maintaining social distancing and hygiene measures, Brewhouse & Kitchen decided to introduce its new order and payment platform, B&K On Tap, an online solution allowing guests to order and pay from their mobile devices.

The platform has seen immediate success, with take-up growing exponentially every day since re-opening. The technology has allowed guests and teams to streamline their interaction when ordering and paying, which has resulted in a critical uplift in individual spend per head.

In the lead-up to Father’s Day, Brewhouse & Kitchen trialled a click and collect, plus UK-wide delivery service, which sold over £4,000 worth of mini-kegs; the features have allowed guests to enjoy their favourite craft beer from wherever they wish, reducing the potential for overwhelming footfall in the days of re-opening.

The month of June saw the brewpub group’s online shop sales to reach as much as 75% of last year’s figures, despite the lockdown climate. Brewhouse & Kitchen hopes to fully launch these services, alongside food delivery, enabling guests to enjoy their favourite dishes from home.

‘We are so incredibly proud of our teams across the country’

The experience-led gift market continues to grow, despite the impact of Covid19. Brewhouse & Kitchen is now reaping the benefit of pre-booked experiences which would have taken place during the lockdown months, being rescheduled to take place over the coming weeks and months, now that sites have been able to reopen.

In the last seven days, the brewpub group has confirmed more than 1,000 covers across its experiences and is currently working to find space to accommodate a further 1,000-plus covers, keen to find a space on one of its experiences, which include brewery experience days and gin masterclasses. 

The hiatus in the schedule provided a period of further training and development for the teams, enabling staff to concentrate on their professional development for those who will deliver the experiences.

Chief executive, Kris Gumbrell, said: “We are so incredibly proud of our teams across the country, working extremely hard to overcome the difficulties caused by Coronavirus. Operators will not be given a second chance to make a first impression in this market.

“We know from our guest research that we needed to open well and create a positive but safe environment. Our staggered, intensive approach to re-opening our sites, adopting further online efficiency and new technologies, has allowed us to ensure the wellbeing and safety of our team and guests.

“The initiatives that have been hard fought for by our trade bodies are extremely welcome. We have been focused on building early week trading. The company will be working hard to drive Eat Out to Help Out.”

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