In the UK, the pub sector continues to be the focus of considerable social and political attention with concerns over alcohol misuse and the attendant issues of underage drinking, poor health and other social problems. We take these issues seriously and are determined to make our pubs relaxed, sociable but above all safe environments.
We believe that the pub, as the centre of its community, is the best possible place to enjoy alcoholic drinks and food, and that the Government should trust responsible adults to make informed choices about what they drink and not punish them for the actions of an irresponsible minority. The significantly cheaper pricing of alcohol in the off trade encourages people to drink at home, but we are firmly of the view that drinking in a pub is not only safer because it is supervised but also healthier because of the social interaction that goes with it.
We focus on these issues in the following ways:
Thorough training for our managers and our staff
Our pub managers and staff operate the Challenge 21 proof of age scheme. They are trained not to serve customers who look under the age of 21 unless they can provide ID to prove they are 18 or over. This policy is audited through unannounced test purchases. Staff are also trained not to serve customers who appear to be intoxicated and we are careful to avoid any promotions which encourage excessive drinking.
All our managers attend a Conflict Management course so that they are prepared to handle any difficult situations with professionalism and diligence. We have also supported some of our managers through a Security Industry Authority qualification to improve security levels at the entrances to high street pubs.
Industry Partnerships, Building Local Relationships
We are active members of the BBPA (British Beer and Pub Association) and the BII (British Institute of Innkeeping), as well as supporting Drinkaware, the government sponsored trust which aims to promote responsible drinking and help reduce alcohol misuse and alcohol related harm. We encourage our managers to contribute to local Pubwatch schemes and Best Bar None competitions. Such schemes build relationships with local police and licensing authorities in the interests of the community the pub serves.
The Pub and Social Cohesion
Through our Chairman Michael Turner’s leadership and public profile, we seek to reinforce our belief that the pub is central to a community’s social cohesion and plays a vital role in Britain’s social life. There are now sadly fewer places where people can come together and socialise but the British pub is still one of them. It offers a ‘third place’, away from the home and the workplace, a place for people to come to and not be alone and a place where, without having to do anything, they become part of a community.
Health and Safety
We accept our responsibility to do all in our power ensure the safety and welfare of customers and employees, and good health and safety practices are embedded within everything we do. All our pubs undergo annual safety checks through an accredited practitioner and this is reinforced through additional internal audits and courses. We run an annual Health and Safety week in our Managed pubs to ensure best practice. We also employ rigorous procedures to ensure that our kitchen teams adhere to the highest standards of food hygiene.
Listening to our Customers
We have a retail culture of tailoring our pubs’ offer to the needs of the communities they serve. This may involve local sourcing of bread, certain meats and cheeses through our partnerships with organisations such as Hampshire Fare and New Forest Marque.
We have invested in sophisticated systems to record and measure our customers’ experiences and feedback is shared at all levels in the business so that we can improve our day-to-day operations. Every customer receives an acknowledgement to their comments within 48 hours and we aim to resolve all queries within seven working days. Customer feedback is also solicited through our website and the London Pride Facebook page.
Additionally, we invest in quarterly mystery shopper visits to provide more feedback on our customers’ experience.
Children in our Pubs
We have a great variety of Managed pubs, and where we feel it appropriate, we will positively encourage families with children to visit us. We do this with welcoming gardens, activity packs to occupy young minds, and in some cases, purpose-built play areas.
High Quality Brands, Premium Positioning
Fuller's Beer Company prides itself on the quality of beers that it brews, as numerous awards over many years testify. The brands are positioned at the top of the market and a premium price is charged, all the way through the supply chain to the end consumer.
This premium positioning is supported by appropriate advertising and promotional activity, typified by the long running "Whatever you do, take pride" campaign for London Pride, where the emphasis is on moderate consumption and taking your time in appreciation of a great beer that's worth savouring, as part of a life well lived.
Our strategy therefore remains one of quality rather than quantity.
Food and Healthy Eating
We believe in providing our customers with a good choice so that we achieve an appropriate balance between indulgence or comforting pub food, and lighter, healthier options. We work with our suppliers to ensure that the produce our chefs prepare is of excellent quality and we provide our retail staff with guidance on dietary requirements such as coeliac diets and nut allergies.