‘We refuse to give up’ - owner keeps pub spirit alive after coronavirus ban

Owner of The Chestnut Group, Philip Turner Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Owner of The Chestnut Group, Philip Turner Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

A pub group owner is using innovative ways to stay in touch with customers and create new revenue streams.

Owner of The Chestnut Group, Philip Turner Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Owner of The Chestnut Group, Philip Turner Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Chestnut Group – which employs 300 staff across its 11 pubs spanning Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex – has kept on all its 300 staff, but is adapting as fast as it can to the new realities of the coronavirus crisis.

All pubs and restaurants were ordered to close on Friday, March 20, but group founder Philip Turner has been determined to find other ways for it to engage with residents while conforming with government advice.

MORE – Care homes group launches recruitment drive for workers laid off due to coronavirus“The government is asking people and businesses to do the right thing - to beat coronavirus,” he said.

“We have a moral responsibility to protect our team, our guests and ultimately those in most need of the NHS. With this in mind, we cannot act as a pub or restaurant for the foreseeable future.

“But this is not goodbye from us. We refuse to give up, so we will be adapting our business to ensure that we still remain at the heart of our towns and villages.”

Among the new services on offer are home-made food delivery to customers. The group is aiming to stream live pub quizzes to isolated families and has set up a temporary village shop at the Three Blackbirds near Newmarket.

All 11 pubs will be offering a takeaway menu. Pubs will also be offering dog walks with complimentary drinks, complimentary soup for the most vulnerable, live Q & As with chefs on social media and online bread-making demonstrations.

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“We will be announcing our new initiatives via our social media platforms,” said Mr Turner. “We promise to continue to help our communities, to the best of our ability. We all need each other now, more than ever.”

The group owns the Westleton Crown, the Ship at Dunwich, the Rupert Brooke in Grantchester, the Northgate in Bury St Edmunds, the Black Lion in Long Melford, the Weeping Willow at Barrow, the Eight Bells in Saffron Walden, the Crown Inn in Stoke-by-Nayland, the Globe Inn in Wells-next-the-Sea, the Three Blackbirds at Woodditton near Newmarket and the Packhorse, also near Newmarket.

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