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Calling time on pub after difficult few years

Times Echo and Life / All News / Calling time on pub after difficult few years
4 months, 4 days agoNo Comments.
20 JAN

Calling time on pub after difficult few years

By timesecholife on in All News, Latest News

The owner of a much-loved pub in the Moorlands is putting the business up for sale after two years of sector uncertainty and hardship. Matt Pitt has run the Red Lion in Boundary, near Cheadle, for 15 years and has built up a pristine reputation for the pub for its homemade, hand-made food and welcomely custom.

The owner of a much-loved pub in the Moorlands is putting the business up for sale after two years of sector uncertainty and hardship.

Matt Pitt has run the Red Lion in Boundary, near Cheadle, for 15 years and has built up a pristine reputation for the pub for its homemade, hand-made food and welcomely custom.

However, the pub announced earlier this month that it would be reducing its service to takeaway only post-Christmas break after a tough festive season saw reduction in numbers and consequently finances.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Matt and his family has faced increased stress and pressure, up to the point where he has decided to imminently sell the Red Lion.

Matt explained how the toll of the last two years led to his decision to ultimately call time on his landlord-ship of the Red Lion.

“We will be searching actively for new owners to take on the Red Lion because from our perspective, we’ve had enough,” he told the Times & Echo.

“We’re going to put the business up for sale and hopefully its reputation will continue under the watchful eye of somebody else.

“I’ve had 15 years of building this place to what it is and it is absolutely beautiful.

“But the strain on our family now, and what we’ve been through these past couple of years – it’s what we’ve got to do.”

He added: “I want to be more of a father to my children more than as a local businessman, that’s more important, especially with health.

“I’ve got three small children, one of whom is autistic, we’ve had two cases of cancer within the family over the past two years and we just decided enough was enough.

“The level of certainty over the past two years has put so much pressure on me as a father and a husband, essentially it’s been too much and I can’t do it anymore.

“I just hope we can find someone who can make the Red Lion their own.”

This Christmas saw many bookings cancelled or reduced amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, which led to the decision of solely operating as a takeaway service temporarily.

December is usually the busiest month of year for the industry but with sparse numbers this time around, and January and February typically being the quietest months of the year, Matt felt the decision had to be made.

“The lead up to Christmas was far from brilliant,” he said.

“There has been strain on the business financially over past two years, having to shut down then re-open again, then shut down and re-open and so on.

“With that level of uncertainty, we decided we had had enough and wanted to take back control.”

Matt reiterated that this was only a temporary measure although couldn’t be certain as to when full service will resume once again, with the business having to make the difficult decision to lay off some staff and reduce hours for others in order to reduce overheads.

Nevertheless, he does predict that there will be a significant recovery uptick eventually.

He said: “I think the hospitality industry will boom once everyone realises that we have to live with Covid-19 and the changes it has made to society.

“Short of it being a lethal variant, unfortunately we have to learn to live with Covid.

“People have to get boosted and learn to live safe but we have to get on with life and from our perspective, we have made a conscious decision as a family to get on with life.”

Matt explained how he will endeavour to continue to ply his trade in cooking once the business is sold, ensuring the new role caters for family-friendly hours in whatever capacity that may be.

In the meantime, the takeaway service currently being offered has seen great uptake by the community with a wave of positive response, with such support being shown for the owners when they announced their decision to go back to takeaway-only for the time being.

Matt thanked those who had shown their kind hand and generous custom, saying: “Thank you to the local community, to our local customers and everybody who’s ever been to us.

“We’ve had an amazing run over the last 15 years. Pre-Covid in 2019 was our best year and everything was looking absolutely amazing for the future, and then three months later Covid hit and unfortunately everything changed.

“But the support has been unbelievable, it just shows people out there, they will miss us.”

The takeaway is currently pick up and collect but Matt said there may possibly be scope to offer delivery going forward.

To order from the Red Lion, go to www.redlionboundary.co.uk and book a time slot. An email will be sent to the customer’s inbox confirming asking for them to pre-order their food with menu links provided.

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