In line with the Government’s new relaxed restrictions regarding take-away food, the group recently introduced a take-away service for customers and local communities across eight of its 11-strong pub estate, with the others set to follow. Customers are able collect the food from Chestnut’s properties, with its The Black Lion pub, in Long Melford, Suffolk, also offering to deliver free hot vegetable soup to locals that are vulnerable and may not be able to leave their house.
The company is looking at what it can with its properties and how they can be vehicles for community-based initiatives, and whether or not there is any way they can be used to generate something Chesnut can either give back to the local community or to the NHS, according to Chesnut founder Philip Turner.
The move is not the first time the pub group has chosen to recognise NHS workers. It pledged to give half-price meals to health service staff throughout January in appreciation of their work during the festive period.
According to Turner, Chestnut – which acquired its first Norfolk pub in early March 2020 – initially “threw” itself into community and takeaway initiatives after Prime Minister Boris Johnson called onpubs to close on 20 March, including; organised walks with complimentary sausage rolls, while allowing people to observe social distancing rules.
He says the company is now working with all of its teams to put in place non-profit activity whereby it will be providing a service to the community and, if there is any profit, will make contributions to the NHS.
“It will be a community-based initiative rather than a revenue-based one,” says Turner.
“We need to sell a lot of burgers in a box to make it make financial sense. Consequently, there comes a point in time where you say ‘I’m not doing this as a revenue-generating initiative, I’m doing this because I want to be giving something back, and providing workers who want to be doing something with the opportunity to do something given the property and facilities we have at our disposal’.”
Businesses looking to switch to a takeaway operation can get advice here.