Popular Sheffield pub reveals unique food plan for reopening – and customers love it
Popular Sheffield pub The Washington has recently celebrated its reopening after lockdown, and has already drawn praise from customers for its approach to making sure people can get fed.
Along with many pubs with beer gardens across the city, The Washington on Fitzwilliam Street reopened on April 12.
And as well as sporting a newly decorated beer garden, the venue – which is popular for live music and DJs – the staff are letting customers order in takeaway to eat while they enjoy their drinks.
Managing director Nick Booth said: “It's been a great success so far! We've had an overwhelming response to table bookings and have had a full beer garden within half an hour of opening and every table occupied until the end of the night.
"We were understandably a little nervous about reopening - we've had to think and build our way around a lot of compliance issues due to the Covid-19 social distancing rules but in the end I think we have struck the balance nicely between operating a safe and compliant venue and maintaining the best customer experience that we can.
"But for all the nerves we felt on the run up to opening day the combination of pride in what we have achieved and the joy of welcoming customers back into (and seeing them enjoy) the venue again made it all worthwhile!
"We don't have the facility to offer food at The Washington ourselves and our objective was simply to offer customers with long bookings the ability to get something to eat without having to compromise their time with us.
"It seemed like a simple solution to the problem and what with the prevalence of online food ordering apps, the experience isn't all that different to eating out at restaurant - the customers just leave their table number with the driver and once it arrives the driver passes it onto our staff who bring it to the table.
“And let's face it, when you're having a drink for more than an hour or so it's always a good idea to get some ballast in you to make sure your day or evening doesn't go awry!”
The new beer garden boasts a mural as well as plenty of seating so the pub can accommodate as many outdoor customers as possible while indoor drinking remains off the cards.
Nick said: “People have been very vocal about how nice the beer garden is looking now! It’s a result of our being bored during lockdown and giving ourselves something to do!
"I designed the new mural myself as something to keep me occupied then my Deputy Manager and I spent a week or so painting it onto the wall. Once we saw the bright colours in the garden we decided that we couldn't stop there, and before we knew it we had re-painted and refreshed the whole area.
"It's strange, we never really previously thought of our beer garden as an area that needed much improvement but now, remembering how it was before, we can't believe we didn't think to do it sooner!”