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    Monday, 27 April 2009

    Opening Hours

    When I first started drinking pubs had to close during the afternoon, then the law was changed so that drinking was allowed between 11 and 11 on every day except Sunday where it was noon until 10;30. I lived in a village at the time and my pub of choice flirted with opening all day on Saturday only. It was usually just us lads in there, playing skittles and listening to the football on the radio.

    It was a far cry from what we have today with pubs effectively able to open all the hours they want to but where generally speaking the vast amount of pubs choose to open all day at least at weekends and Fridays. The pub which closes during the afternoon is in a definite minority, especially in towns or near tourist attractions.

    Not all pubs do though and I'm confused why last orders is called at 3ish with a number of customers still spending their money. I know the same could be said for 11pm but people do have beds to go to.

    So why do pubs which probably could open all day choose not to? Sure staff need a break but if there are enough staff and shift patterns are sorted correctly this shouldn't be an issue. The question of profit doesn't come into it as I've already identified that these are busy pubs only.

    No, it's been suggested to me that pubs close to enable cleaning and general sprucing up between services. This may seem a valid argument but I can honestly say that I've not noticed an all day pub being particularly grotty in the evening.

    So. what's the reason? And if you ran a successful pub would you consider an afternoon of no money going through the tills?


    Woolpack Dave said...

    You would be surprised how much trade can drop off in the afternoon even in a busy pub. 3pm strict close prevents a few hangers on who would not leave until 5pm. Also, it is generally not about having enough staff, it's about there being a responsible member of staff. Often that is one person who really, really needs a break.

    Also, it's not that easy to sort out shifts when you need 2 people to cover a 12 hour period but if only open 8 hours you could get away with one person. Split shifts are often the only answer, and these are deeply unpopular with staff.

    Trust me, pubs do things for commercial reasons, not just to miff the customer.

    I'd love to close in the afternoon, but there are too many people expect us to be open. Between 4pm and 6pm we loose money. Getting rid of this sort of expectation might actually help pubs to survive.

    Curmudgeon said...

    More and more pubs, especially of the "community local" type, don't bother opening at lunchtimes at all nowadays Monday-Thursday as there isn't enough trade to make it worthwhile.