However, the thought has often occurred to me, and others, that there could be room for a similar show specifically looking at pubs. Many pubs do seriously ill-considered or neglectful things that surely deserve to be pointed out to them. To some extent this brief was covered by Tom Kerridge’s Saving the Great British Pub which aired in 2020, but sadly that became overtaken by Covid and ended up with a distinctly different theme.
However, Ms Polizzi is now branching out with a new programme covering a wider range of hospitality operations, including restaurants, wedding venues, tourist attractions – and pubs – and is asking for businesses to put themselves forward. It’s easy to imagine that she’ll just tell them all to go down the gastropub route, but she’s more savvy than that, and I would imagine most of those that volunteer will already be food-led pubs rather than back-street boozers.
I have to say in my experience pubs of all kinds commit a myriad of sins that are likely to be offputting to customers. Setting aside my own personal prejudices, some of the most obvious ones are:
- Failing to publicise your opening hours and changing them on a whim
- Not displaying menus on your website or, in urban locations, outside the door. It also baffles me why pubs don’t put menus out on tables and expect you to ask for one at the bar
- Ill-mannered, inattentive staff. Yes, I know recruitment is hard at present, but a lot of this comes from the management approach
- Poor hygiene standards, especially unpleasant toilets
It has to be said that independent pub businesses are often some of the worst offenders. At their best, they include some of the highest-quality pubs around, but in the absence of an area manager to give them a prod they can all too easily lose interest and let standards slip. They also have much more scope to apply idiosyncratic and offputting policies. And I would expect in general that most of those who apply will be independent businesses
I’m pretty sure it will be a certain type of pub that predominantly features, but even so no doubt it will make interesting viewing and I’ll definitely make a point of tuning in.