Brewhouse & Kitchen saw spend per head increase by £9, on average, following the introduction of its mobile order and pay app.

Speaking at MCA’s The Conversation earlier this week, chief executive Kris Gumbrell described the increase as “a big jump for us in a pub”, explaining that the operator had seen “a massive amount of shopping through the range”, happening at the table, with customers taking their time to look through the menu.

“We knew that if you have table service your back bar becomes less important, and what is in your hand, on your phone, becomes a really critical shop window,” he said.

Brewhouse opted for an order and payment system more akin to those found in the QSR sector, and it has worked really well for them, said Gumbrell. “Our choice of system was influenced by the fact we wanted to be in takeaway and delivery, and we are developing that further,” he explained. “Nobody is going to get rich out of it other than the aggregators, but it is important to be there, even as a pub business, to connect with guests.”

The pub operator has also been maintaining its connection to guest through its experience business. Brewhouse has taken its experiences, such as masterclasses, online, which Gumbrell believes is another area that will continue to grow post-Covid restrictions.

Recent research by Brewhouse on the customer experience found that consumers liked to be sat at a table, they also wanted to use the order and pay from table platform, they want to go at their own pace, and they want to spend more, explained Gumbrell. “Another interesting stat was that 45% of all guests surveyed believed the quality of staff was more important now, than it was 12 months ago,” added Gumbrell.

He said that hospitality has, over the past 12 months, become a “ship of doom” as an employer. “We have a huge amount of work to do to make sure that is absolutely not the case,” explained Gumbrell, particularly with the added pressure of losing good people through Brexit. “The big worry now is going to be about attracting new people into the business and keeping them,” he said.

Gumbrell added that by taking its training online Brewhouse has been able to double the number of beer and gin specialists within its business over the past year, “and we’ll continue to do that”.