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‘Christmas is probably off’: Norfolk’s pubs plan for critical winter months

PUBLISHED: 06:59 11 September 2020 | UPDATED: 06:38 14 September 2020

Victoria MacDonald who runs the Old Ram Coaching Inn and The Cellar House has started planning for winter. Picture: The Old Ram Coaching Inn

Victoria MacDonald who runs the Old Ram Coaching Inn and The Cellar House has started planning for winter. Picture: The Old Ram Coaching Inn

The Old Ram Coaching Inn

Pubs across the county have begun drafting plans for how to keep up revenue without Eat Out to Help Out or warm summer weather driving the public through their doors.

The Falcon at Pullham Market has bought storage heaters and gazebos. Picture: The FalconThe Falcon at Pullham Market has bought storage heaters and gazebos. Picture: The Falcon

As winter looms pubs are beginning to look at investing in outdoor storage heaters and gazebos in a bid to keep using outdoor space.

Victoria MacDonald, who runs the Cellar House at Eaton and the Old Ram Inn at Tivetshall Saint Mary alongside husband Graeme, said that “everything was being monitored daily”.

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“We’re hanging in there. This week we have started looking at what we can do to keep giving people a reason to come in this winter, so we’re looking at things like storage heaters but we’ve also had a gazebo up since August,” she said.

Victoria MacDonald, who runs the Cellar House at Eaton and the Old Ram Inn at Tivetshall Saint Mary. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYVictoria MacDonald, who runs the Cellar House at Eaton and the Old Ram Inn at Tivetshall Saint Mary. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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“We’re also looking at introducing a cocktail menus and some socially-distanced music events. We’ve also got to start looking at Christmas and at the moment it’s looking like it’s probably off. It’ll be the first time for the Cellar House that it hasn’t been open on Christmas day but there are always so many people mingling and wanting to chat on that day of the year that we can’t risk it.”

The story is similar at The Falcon in Pulham Market near Diss, with landlady Tina Foster saying she and her husband had used personal funds to buy gazebos and outdoor storage heaters.

“It’s set us back a fair amount but we didn’t have much choice when it came to looking ahead to the winter months. Plus it’s an added benefit for smokers if we’re not using it for food.”

She added: “We have released a Christmas day menu which will be the first one we’ve ever done – we only started serving food in January. But we’ll be doing it in two sittings and obviously taking no bookings of more than six. I think it’s unlikely we’ll take Christmas party bookings.
“It has been difficult, we only started doing food in January and it felt like we were just getting the ball rolling and then we were ordered to close.”


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