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25-03-2016, 16:01
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It’s an ironic fact of life that, the more pub hours have been liberalised, the more many pubs have chosen to open shorter and more irregular hours. Pub explorers Simon Everitt (http://brapa-4500.blogspot.co.uk/) and Martin Taylor (http://retiredmartin.com/) have often reported finding pubs closed when they expected them to be open, which can be intensely frustrating if they’ve made a special effort to get there. This story from Simon (http://brapa-4500.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/brapa-pub-blog-with-no-pubs.html) really takes the biscuit.
I would be the last person to insist that pubs should open when there’s little or no trade. But, if they choose to adopt limited or unusual hours, it is surely incumbent on them to ensure that any potential customers are aware of that. They should publish their hours on their website, if they have one, and ensure that the hours displayed on WhatPub? (https://whatpub.com/) are correct.
Even if they don’t have an online presence, they should make sure their hours are clearly displayed outside. It’s no use saying “if you turn up and we’re open, we’re open, and if we’re closed, we’re closed”. Passers-by may make a mental note of your hours and come back later, and the casual customer may decide to wait if they know you will be open in another half-hour, whereas if there’s no display of hours at all they’re likely to go elsewhere. And, if you declare your hours, you really need to stick to them.
It’s basic business common sense. But, sadly, some pubs still seem to exist in a world of entitlement where they have no need to communicate basic information to potential customers. Life isn’t easy for pubs nowadays, but sadly they often do themselves no favours. Shops manage to do it, even though they tend to have much more predictable hours, so why can’t pubs?
Another point Martin has made is that, in many areas, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find any pub open on Mondays outside town centres, which rather mirrors the situation in Germany.
(The sign pictured, belonging to an M&B pub in Birmingham, is interesting, as the 3 pm Saturday closing and 2.30 pm Sunday closing suggest it’s after the 1988 liberalisation, but it still sticks very closely to the old pattern)

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