- September 20, 2021
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THE hospitality industry has been hit particularly hard by the events of the past 18 months. Today, Saturday, September 18, is National Hospitality Day – a way to support those in the industry.
Businesses across the hospitality sector have spent the pandemic in different ways – some have adapted their businesses to work in line with the restrictions in place, while others closed.
Here we look at how some of Gwent’s businesses have survived the pandemic.
Most of those who survived have highlighted how their loyal customers have been a major part of the reason. They have returned when able to and continue to support their favourites.
Villa Dino Restaurant in Newport is celebrating 37 years of trade in October. They said: “It can be hard at the best of times but with the Covid pandemic it has been particularly tough.
“We have muddled through and we’re still here thanks to our lovely customers.
“We hope that they continue to support us and other local businesses.”
Meat in Newport also thank their loyal customers for their support and that they count it as a reason for survival.
They said: “A lot of places have not recovered yet. We hope customers will be as supportive and understanding as possible. A lot of independent places heavily rely on return trade so just remember the little guys in your towns and cities.”
Slipping Jimmy’s in Newport were also helped by their loyal patrons – who continued to turn up in line with the way they implemented the rules and regulations provided by the Welsh Government. On ‘Freedom Day’, they praised their regulars, with manager Sue Reynolds saying: “We’re also ready to welcome people back to the bar and to put an end to table service.
“Our regulars have been great throughout the times we’ve been open, coming in regular as clockwork and keeping us ticking over.”
Other venues have thrived by adapting their business to continue to trade during the restrictions.
Le Pub in Newport were able to continue to have some form of trade throughout – by doing delivery and take-away meals. They also got behind charities and other causes by supporting a food bank appeal for Feed Newport CIC by offering free beer to those who supported them. At the time, the venue was unable to sell alcohol due to the restrictions in place so came up with the creative way to not waste their stock.
At the time, manager Sam Dabb said: “Every time there is a lockdown, we have to throw away stock, and it seems so wasteful.
“We wanted to find a way to turn that stock into something that would help others this Christmas.
“Feed Newport have been doing amazing things, providing meals and food parcels and sanitary products as well as the support they give by caring about others. We wanted to do something to help them out.”
The Prince of Wales in Risca benefitted from both loyal customers and a change in their business model. They used some of the lockdown period where they were unable to open at all to renovate their dining area.
They also made use of last year’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme – which was really popular for them – by continuing to offer discounted meals following the official scheme’s end.
They continued their discount of 15 per cent through to the end of October. Helen Salmon, who runs the pub with husband Jason, said at the time: “If we didn’t take part in the initial scheme, I don’t think we would have been able to stay open.
“The scheme allowed us to bring back our furloughed staff. Some did leave due to personal reasons but we were able to keep all of our staff on furlough and didn’t have to let anyone go due to the state of the business.”
Mr Salmon added: “It’s added an extra revenue stream. People who come for the food, usually have a pint or a glass of wine and then stay on for some more drinks.
“We’re carrying it on as people are still supporting us. We hope they enjoy the food.”
They also praised the staff with Mr Salmon saying: “Our staff have been fab. We asked them to be flexible when coming back and they have been great, they’ve come in at short notice, they’ve taken on other duties including cleaning. They’ve been amazing at adapting to the changing circumstances.”
National Hospitality Day is on Saturday, September 18 and people are urged to go out and support their local pubs, cafes, bars, clubs and restaurants.
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