Kings Arms Bexleyheath fears for hospitality as bills double

A Bexleyheath pub operator has said it may shorten its pub’s opening hours amid rising energy bills and fears for the future of the hospitality industry.

Pete Marshall, the operator of the Kings Arms pub, said his pub’s energy bills had doubled and another 50% rise was expected in the coming months.

At the start of the year, he also noticed an increase in the cost of products that were delivered to the pub.

Pete can gradually shorten opening hours and slightly increase the price of his drinks and food in order to save money.

The 41-year-old explained: ‘We try to find ways that won’t ruin the customer’s experience when they dine with us.

“So, I sometimes wonder, is it worth staying open for an extra hour or two?

“During this time, we can turn off the ovens and fryers, which saves us some money.

“Otherwise, we may have to limit customer experiences on things like events, but we don’t want to do that.

“It’s a shame because it takes us away from our main goal, which has always been to provide a good customer experience.

“But that doesn’t mean we still don’t offer a good experience.

“It’s hard to juggle everything together, but we’re doing our best.”

The average energy price increase for hospitality businesses now stands at 238%, and more than 70% of organizations in the sector are seeing their bills more than double, according to Trade Advocacy UK.

Pete says he fears most businesses cannot survive and may close due to the crisis.

He told the News Shopper: “Fortunately for us, we’re not in that position, but other businesses may have to close.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow, but with everything going up, some people have no choice but to shut up.”

Despite rising energy bills, Pete is still keen to find ways to give back to his customers so they can get the most out of their experience.

He has decided to launch a new meal deal to help feed families of four for £20.

The offer, known as Family Time, includes a meal for a family where children can order the main courses of their choice from the children’s menu and a scoop of ice cream.

Adults will have a choice of a meat or vegetarian main course each, which will be freshly prepared.

Pete said: “I thought of this idea while having dinner with my wife and two children.

“The bill was around £90 when we went so I thought, how is that sustainable for other families to get out and have fun.

“I then thought of the idea of ​​Family Time.

“It doesn’t make much of a difference for us, there’s no profit either, just something to help others through tough times.”

Pete said the hospitality community should try to give back to their customers where possible, to support them in times of crisis.

He explained, “If everyone does what they can, whether it’s a company or an individual, it will only bring everyone together.

“Of course it’s not an easy thing to do, but I’m sure it will help everyone in the long run.”

The Kings Arms also made the final in three categories of The Great British Pub awards.

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Martin E. Berry