Software developer helps his local to get back in business post-lockdown

The OpenInn app in action at The Bull in Bacton with from left, Peter Reeves, Duncan McRae and Rory

The OpenInn app in action at The Bull in Bacton with from left, Peter Reeves, Duncan McRae and Rory McRae Picture: JANE BROMLEY - Credit: Archant

A pub patron has stepped in to help his local start pulling the pints again.

Bacton resident Peter Reeves offered to build a customer ordering app for The Bull for free.

With just a week to go before the pub was allowed to welcome back customers, he used his skills as a software developer to set up a web app to allow patrons to order from their table and give the pub the information it needed to help with NHS Test and Trace.

MORE - Pubs group braced for ‘a year like no other’ as takings nosediveHe launched which works like an app – allowing customers to place an order from a full list of the food and drink on offer in The Bull – without having to install anything on their mobile phones.

Peter said he had “really enjoyed” using his skills to help keep people safe and support a business which is an important part of the community in which he lives.

“From nothing to a working solution in a week was hard work, but fun too,” he said.

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“I am still adapting the web app as I learn what works best for customers and the pub and I am introducing more features beyond just those required to meet government guidance.

“OpenInn will hopefully offer customers a way to feel confident in social distancing rules for pubs and encourage them to return to support local businesses.”

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Peter said he would like to offer OpenInn to more pubs to help them encourage business through their doors and help them survive the coronavirus crisis.

The Bull owners, father-and-son team Duncan and Rory McRae, expressed their delight with the new web app.

“It’s been wonderful to welcome back the local community and I’m extremely grateful to Peter for helping this happen safely,” said Rory.

“We have been offering a limited takeaway menu during lockdown, but it has been very hard on the business. So being able to open again fully, using the whole building, pub garden and offering our complete menu is critical to our survival.

“The web app means that we can encourage our customers to stay at their tables and observe social distancing rules, while we play our part in safely helping a bit of normal life return.”

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