Family-run pub turns takeaway during coronavirus closure

 Read time: 5 mins      Added: Date: 14-05-2020

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A family-run pub in a Shropshire village has secured jobs for all of its staff and made the switch to offering takeaway food during the coronavirus shutdown.

Like all pubs, The Bull's Head Inn in Chelmarsh was told to close its doors to customers at the start of lockdown, but owner John King was determined to protect the future of the business he has owned with his wife Norma for 14 years.

With pub dining off the menu, the kitchen quickly transformed into offering a takeaway service, delivering more than 40 roast dinners to the homes of loyal locals on Mother's Day alone.

John's next move was to secure the jobs of his 14 staff who all lived locally. His Lloyds Bank relationship manager, Mark Meakin, helped John to navigate the government support available to the business, but also provided a crucial package of support including an overdraft extension and loan repayment holiday for at least six months, and longer if needed.

John said: "We're a small rural business, employing local people and we just want to make sure they all still have jobs at the end of this torrid situation, so we're very grateful for the speed and professionalism of the team at Lloyds Bank.

"They are all so relieved that they can meet their commitments and pay their mortgages and rent.

"Lloyds Bank has been very helpful in helping us to understand all the different elements of support that the government is offering in guarantees and grants, keeping us up to date on what's available and how we access it."

John King, Owner, The Bull's Head Inn

John King, owner of The Bull's Head Inn, Chelmarsh

"Our relationship manager Mark has been superb. He started working right away to pull a support package together for us.

"At 9pm on Saturday night he contacted me to say he'd submitted the package to Lloyds Bank credit committee and by 9am on Sunday morning it had been approved, which was incredible."

For now, The Bull's Head Inn, which also offers B&B and self-catering accommodation, continues to adapt and has developed a new takeaway menu of country pub classics, like steak and ale pie, helping to sustain their new business model until they can reopen in full once again.

Mark Meakin said: "These really are unprecedented times for business and the hospitality industry is particularly vulnerable, given the government's advice for people to stay at home.

"Employers like John want to stand by their workers, and we'll do whatever we can to help them do that.

"It's important that we all work together to get through this and help healthy businesses survive."

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