How to prepare for re-opening your pub or bar after lockdown

Unsure of the best plan for re-opening your pub or bar post-lockdown? Beer Marque’s Training Manager, Annabel Smith, gives her advice on a successful and prepared re-opening

Draw up a 4-week timeline for staff

Do a full week-by-week timeline, looking at skills and knowledge, re-engaging and retraining staff, stock management, ordering, cellar and bar management and checking over all equipment to make sure it’s in good working order. As we’re not sure if a lockdown could happen again, bear this in mind when planning stock orders, investment in new equipment and staff contracts.

A spring clean – in autumn

Now your bar is reopening for business again, get it right first time. You need to maximise this time fully and make sure your beer and cider quality is the best it’s ever been. This is an ideal opportunity to recalibrate your cellar, get a service call out to fix any faulty equipment and have a thorough think about your offer. With thirsty – and keen – customers, this could be a time to think about trading up and offering a more premium range.

Annabel Smith outside a Pub
Beer Pump

What should you stock?

Think about your range in terms of good, better and best. Customers will be more likely to trade up, so inspire with new flavours. And don’t just stock them – show them. Consider a range of world beers and position them prominently in the fridge. Don’t forget to back the brands that have broadest appeal too. Choose your selection wisely to keep your margins keen.

How much to order

Think about the scale of your offer. Match your range size and breadth to a lower throughput. Reopen with lower stock on the bar, and remember that cask beer can only be on sale for a few days. If you’re on average a 150- to 200-barrel account, think about downsizing, initially to a 75- to 100-barrel account. Don’t overdo it, you can judge volumes on a week-by-week basis.

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