With the races in full flow at Cheltenham despite the coronavirus putting sporting events on hold across the country. Local Wetherspoons Pub manager, Carolyn Betty, believes Cheltenham has stood strong against the virus and has not seen a drop in sales;
“We average 40k a week but on race week we take 130, so we triple our profits.
“We seem to have the same amount of people coming in. We are at full capacity by ten o’clock. The sales are level as last year, but we were warned that it could affect us, but it hasn’t.”
At the moment we are getting e-mails daily so we know what to do and make sure everyone is following procedure.”
Despite her six years experience, she’s never had to deal with one with a pandemic like coronavirus, but she insists that it’s not just from a health and safety aspect that Wetherspoons have planned for. If the virus continues to spread then the economy could be affected.
“If it carries on, it could have an effect on the economy, so the company look at what we could cut back on. But right now, we have to look at it day by day.”
Away from the virus, Betty couldn’t speak highly enough of how good the week is for the town and for the pub itself whether the punters win or lose,
“I think there’s a bit of both, I’ve worked race week for five or six years now and I just think it’s a great week, win or lose, then why not go to the pubs and enjoy it, it’s always a great atmosphere.”
It’s not just in the pub that race week is seen as a major event. Head office also see it as a great money-making week and are supportive because of this,
“They are supportive but obviously this is my third year so we tweaked it the last couple of years but now it’s simple. We put the prices up on some products but we keep some the same because of the locals so we try and cater for everyone.”
They use the comparison of rugby in Cardiff to the races in Cheltenham;
“We have an event menu this week, it is very similar to Cardiff when Wales are playing in the Six Nations. Especially city centre pubs where they can’t cope without cutting their menus.”
Because of all the increased income, Betty says the prep has to be completed early to allow the week to be a success,
“The organisation starts about a month prior, so the staff know what’s happening and what is expected of them.”
A pub of the people and a hub for the races. The coronavirus can’t even touch what is a true part of English culture, that is Wetherspoons.