Esther talks to the Rose and Crown about issues faced by the hospitality industry

A Knutsford woman who spent nearly three years building up the family business has spoken how she went from feeling the future was bright to starring down the barrel of a gun within minutes of people being urged to stay away from pubs and restaurants.

Nicola Newton, who runs the Rose and Crown in Knutsford with her extended family fulfilled her dream nearly three years ago and believed 2020 was the year the pub, restaurant and hotel would start making money – but instead saw revenue drop to an all-time low as the country started social distancing.

Speaking to Tatton MP Esther McVey as part of a podcast into whether pubs will survive in the current climate, Mrs Newton said she remains positive and determined her and her team will pull through but equally fears for the hospitality industry in a post Coronavirus world.

Mrs Newton said: “I do not think we will go from social distancing to going to the pub freely. It is tough we do not know when we will be coming out of this and no one knows how long this is going to be. It is going to take a while for certain elements to come back again, everyone is in the same boat, but I worry how it is going to look as we will not have had any revenue whatsoever. We will need to stock up to start to trade again and loans and such are great but 12 months interest free is not long enough, it will be a tough trading year when we come out of this.

“The dream was to have a family business, and this was our year, no more in the overdraft and we started to see it, we had worked it all out. In my time in my life we have worked hard we have done this for our children, we were going to smash this out for 10 years out, the future was mapped out for the next generation.”

Mrs Newton said the pub, restaurant and hotel have an amazing team and it is that spirit that keeps everyone focussed. She said until the lockdown her regulars were supporting the business but that posed challenges with her questioning whether to shut the doors for the safety of her staff and customers alike.

 She added: “We went from between £5,000 to £6,000 revenue a day to £150, it was soul destroying. It was extremely exciting and from one day to the next the carpet got pulled. We are a new exciting business, so we do not have a huge slush fund, we were ploughing most of it back into the property, we had put so much effort back into the business this was our year to make a bit of money. We do not know what is going to happen, but we are going to fight as hard as we can to come out of this with the business in good shape as it was so positive when we went into it.”

Ms McVey said she hoped post Coronavirus communities will re-connect in local pubs and support local businesses as they always have done.

She said: “We are social beings and we need to interact with other people in a physical form, not just through the internet and on the phone. Once Covid-19 is over, when we have vaccines and tests we must come back as a community. We need to make sure we keep pubs going as they are the hub of the local community and I know I will be going to our pubs and restaurants as soon as we are allowed again to help those businesses get back on track. We have seen in the worst of times how are communities are rallying together to help people in need and I am sure people will continue with that community spirit and support local business once we have defeated this virus that is devastating the lives of so many families.”

For the full podcast interview visit http://bluecollar.buzzsprout.com/