Pub launches luxury ‘dining pods’ ahead of post-lockdown reopening

PUBLISHED: 19:00 27 June 2020

Three dining pods will be open from July 4 at the Anchor Inn in Nayland, offering people who are shielding a safe space to dine in the summer evenings. Picture: ANCHOR INN

Three dining pods will be open from July 4 at the Anchor Inn in Nayland, offering people who are shielding a safe space to dine in the summer evenings. Picture: ANCHOR INN


A Suffolk pub which has been closed since January to undergo a complete refurbishment is introducing outdoor dining pods to help welcome customers and staff back safely.

The Anchor Inn has undergone a full refurbishment while it has been closed to the public during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: ANCHOR INNThe Anchor Inn has undergone a full refurbishment while it has been closed to the public during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: ANCHOR INN

The Anchor Inn, in Nayland near Colchester, had been looking at installing the dining pods for the winter but has decided to bring them into action earlier as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the new restrictions..

The pub is situated along the River Stour and the team hope the new pods will offer an ultimate evening experience for their guests and bring them something a bit different.

Ross Parrock, who is the operations manager at the Anchor Inn, said the dining pods “are more relevant now than ever before”.

He said: “They will allow people to shield relatively well, especially those who are high risk or are worried about eating at a restaurant.”

The Anchor Inn in Nayland has been closed for a refurbishment since January 2020 and has now introduced dining pods to help those shielding. Picture: ANCHOR INNThe Anchor Inn in Nayland has been closed for a refurbishment since January 2020 and has now introduced dining pods to help those shielding. Picture: ANCHOR INN

The pub will also be launching a new app for customers to order their foods from when they reopen on Saturday, July 4, to help safeguard both their guests and staff.

Mr Parrock said: “We want our staff to interact with our guests, but not for too long and not unnecessarily.”

The three dining pods can each accommodate up to eight people and will be used in the summer evenings when it gets a little cooler. They will be available all day throughout the winter period.

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The pub closed its doors on January 20 and was due to reopen in April following a huge refurbishment, however coronavirus has caused the length of closure to be extended.

Mr Parrock said they have used this time to make sure the pub is ready for returning customers and is as safe as possible.

They have extended the kitchen, put in outside toilets, installed heated and lit parasoles and gone further than the government guidelines requires.

Mr Parrock said that “safety is the number one priority” for the pub, which can usually seat up to 120 people inside but will lose around 30% of indoor space as a result of the two metre rule.

The opening hours will also be extended when the pub reopens next week from 12pm through to the evening service.

Mr Parrock hopes this will help spread the guests out across the day to avoid people coming into contact with large groups of people.

They will also be accepting both online bookings and walk-ins for those eating, while those stopping by for a drink will not need to pre book. The pub will turn people away if it gets too busy.

The dining pods can be hired for two and a half hours, with a charge of £60 for two to three people, £50 for four to six and £40 for eight.

If they are successful the pub hopes to install more dining pods in the future, depending on the costs and what customers think of them.

So far the news of the new dining pods has received huge support on social media from loyal customers, with almost 5,000 shares and more than 3,000 comments.

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