Dear Friends of Shepherd Neame,
Firstly, I would like to thank you for your fantastic support since we reopened our pubs back in July. Trading for most pubs has been better than anticipated to date, and the majority have begun edging their way back to profitability. This week we entered the final stage of reopening our London pubs in response to growing consumer confidence across the industry, boosted by the recent Eat Out To Help Out scheme.
Pubs are safe and the home of responsible socialising. We have worked tirelessly since July 4 to introduce extensive protective measures and to develop new ways of working to comply with Government regulations and make our pubs Covid-secure. We have been overwhelmed by the positive comments you have made about our licensees, their team members, and the service you have received. It is uplifting to all of us that the British pub remains so fundamental to so many people’s lives and at the heart of their communities. You have helped us to stay open by staying safe and following the rules. Thank you.
However, hospitality has been one of the hardest hit sectors and the new restrictions, in particular the Government’s new 10pm curfew to be introduced from tonight (Thursday, September 24), are a setback to the industry and a fresh challenge for us all.
We have today launched an extensive communications campaign across our estate to amplify the latest measures, including the Rule of Six, compulsory masks for team members and customers, and mandatory table service. We have also adopted and widely communicated the new NHS Test & Trace app, and are starting to roll out a bespoke app across our estate to allow customers to order and pay online from their tables.
We welcome today’s announcement of further Government support, in particular the extension of the VAT cut for our industry and a new Jobs Support Scheme from November.
Throughout this crisis our priority has been our team members. We are proud that we have not made redundancies so far. But these new restrictions continue to impact the full operation of the business and will make it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to perform certain functions. It is with great regret, therefore, that some job losses now look inevitable. We will strive to keep this to a minimum and to look after our teams to the best of our ability and protect the Company for the long term.
As we go through the next six months, we encourage you to continue to support your local. Please remember that every pint, every meal, every overnight stay, every cup of coffee purchased will not only help to protect the future of your community’s pub but also help to protect jobs.
I would like to thank you again for your support, and hope to see you at one of our pubs very soon.
With my very best wishes,
Shepherd Neame Chief Executive