Marstons reopens 70% of English estate following outdoor spaces investment

Pub giant Marston's has reopened around 70% (c.700) of its managed and franchised pubs in England with outdoor spaces after launching a nationwide project to help equip these pubs to safely welcome back guests.

Subject to final regulatory confirmation, the company will reopen the majority of its Scottish and Welsh pubs on 26 April.

On the basis that the stated reopening roadmap set out by the Government is adhered to, the remaining managed estate in England should open on or around 17 May with restricted indoor trading, and we are assuming a return to normal trading conditions from 21 June.

Ed Hancock, Operations Director at Marston’s, said: “Outdoor seating at our pubs has become more important than ever, especially as we come out of lockdown. We already have some of the best outdoor spaces in UK hospitality and as much as we wanted to expand, we also needed to.”

The Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated trends whereby outdoor areas are becoming a key focus. Alongside the new garden spaces, Marston’s pubs is operating an online ordering system for both food and drinks and are allowing access to toilets and baby changing facilities.

Each outdoor design was carefully considered utilising available space and how the area could be used to ensure operations and customer experiences were enhanced.

Hancock added, “We have worked closely with our contractors and suppliers, as well as our property team to ensure that we are meeting not only government guidelines on outdoor social spaces, but also ensuring that we don’t compromise on pub operations and customer experience. There is no one size fits all, we have to think about how the space will be used and most importantly what guests are looking for.

“Moving through 2021 and beyond, external spaces will become even more valuable and the industry needs to continue to provide a safe, comfortable environment for guests.”

The group will announce its Interim Results for the 26 weeks ended 3 April 2021 on 19 May 2021.