Take-Away Menus – for the Covid-19 crisis period

Hi Everyone,

We seem to be writing updates almost on a daily basis at the moment, which is very odd. The ground shifts under us all the time, what it is safe or prudent for us to do, as a business, changing every hour, balancing our need to stay in business with the health risks for our customers and our staff.

Some pubs are already closed completely, others seem to be almost at “business as usual”. We think we are somewhere in between. We have removed some tables to spread out the customers who do come in, we’re cleaning everything over and over again, and we’re also stepping up other ways we can serve our community, and especially those of you who are self-isolating or simply don’t want to be out and about at the current time.

So we are pleased to announce our new ‘Take Away Menu’. This will be available from today onwards, Mondays to Saturdays. We are also working on Take Away Sunday Lunch, which should be on offer from this weekend, so keep checking back in for information on that. And we also intend to roll out a delivery service to Croxton Kerrial and the surrounding villages, starting in the next few days.

We will continue to find new ways to support our community for as long as we can do so safely, and with the ongoing support of our staff, our customers and the other businesses we rely on, we will see you out the other side of this crisis for a very, very big party! In the meantime, please do order your take-aways either by phoning the pub on 01476 870350 or by using the messaging facility on our facebook page.

Many thanks for your continued custom in such difficult circumstances.

And the household essentials shopping list is:


Change in Opening Hours

In the face of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and the absolute priority that we are putting on keeping our staff, our customers and our business safe, we are making some small changes to our opening hours from tomorrow, Thursday, March 19th, until further notice.

The pub will no longer open for breakfast. This is a sad decision for us to make, as we’re really proud of our breakfasts, but the B&B part of our business has pretty much ground to a complete halt. And in the current climate of ‘social distancing’ and ‘self isolation’ we’re not having very many people pop in for a breakfast either. By opening slightly later in the day we can adjust our staffing, spend more time on cleaning and ensuring the pub is safe for those times when it is open, and also use some of the time for working out our responses to the ever-changing situation.

As a result the Geese and Fountain opening hours are temporarily changing to:

Monday to Saturday: 10am – 11pm (food served midday until 9pm)
Sunday: 10am – 9pm (food served midday until 3pm, and 5pm until 7pm)

This will, of course, be kept under constant review. We hope to be offering breakfasts again very soon. We are still open for B&B bookings (by telephone only), and if people know anyone who needs a B&B room please do send them our way. We will offer our full breakfast options to any B&B customers we may have over the next few weeks, but we cannot set up every morning to do breakfasts with no real prospect of having any custom for them. Sorry.

Immediately, we will use the time that this saves us to prepare three things:

Firstly a greatly expanded take-away menu (not just pizzas like we currently do, but a large selection from our pub classics and dessert menus as well). A first edition of a full take away menu should be available tomorrow and we welcome take away orders from 6pm every evening and between midday and 3pm every lunch time. We hope that by Saturday we will have a plan for ‘take away Sunday lunches’ so that we can offer you a take away for this Sunday, as we really don’t want anyone disappointed on Mother’s Day.

Secondly, we will be making a commitment from Friday of this week to step in to the hole left by the understandable (and in our view entirely necessary) decision by the government to order the closure of all schools in England. While the decision is the right one, there are many children in our society who are dependent on free school meals – and who now face the prospect of many weeks without them, and possibly without hot food at all. We are therefore intending that from Friday, until further notice, ALL CHILDREN’S MEALS SERVED AT THE GEESE AND FOUNTAIN BETWEEN MIDDAY AND 3PM WILL BE FREE OF CHARGE. Each free meal will be accompanied by a complimentary glass of orange or blackcurrant cordial. This will apply to eat-in and take-away meals, to hot food from the children’s menu or to sandwiches. If it’s for a child, you won’t pay. No questions asked. We don’t care if your child was previously receiving free school meals or not, we don’t care if you are on benefits, or anything like that. We just want to ensure that no child in our community goes hungry, and this is the best way for us to do that.

Thirdly, we are exploring various option for establishing a delivery service for Croxton Kerrial (and possibly surrounding villages). We would like this to cover our take away food items, drinks from our bar, household essentials and even veg boxes. We will have more information on this very soon.

We hope this will reassure you all that a reduction in our opening hours isn’t any sign that we’re going away any time soon. We’re just focussing our energy onto those things which will do the most good for our community, our staff and our business. Keep well, and we’ll all get through this together.

Covid-19 (again) and the Prime Minister and us…

To all our much-loved customers from the team at the Geese and Fountain

Kate, Sophie and Nick spent much of this morning working out what our approach should be to the changing situation regarding Covid-19. Then the Prime Minister had a press conference this evening, and made life much more difficult for us, so the planning has to start all over again.

Up front we want to say how much we care about our customers.

We’re genuinely very, very proud of our little pub and what makes it special is the people who work here, and the customers who visit. Without you it is just a pile of bricks and a few cans of beer. With you, it’s the best pub in the world. We are determined to find a way to keep it like that. It’s not too emotional to say ‘we love you guys’ but it does sound a bit of cliché, so let’s pretend we’ve not said it, and move on to the serious stuff…

The situation is changing so fast, it is really difficult to work out what the best thing to do is at any point, but we are determined to do everything we can to both keep the Geese and Fountain going, and also ensure the lowest possible risk to all our customers and staff.

The current situation is that the Prime Minister has advised people not to socialise and not to visit pubs, clubs and theatres. However, he has not instructed us to close. This puts us in a difficult place, as without a specific instruction to close we will not be able to access any business insurance payments for loss of trade or similar.

We are a small pub, in a very small village. In as much as it’s possible to know, the risk represented by a visit to the Geese and Fountain is a lot lower than most pubs in towns and cities. We are also a resource for the village of Croxton Kerrial, and in the absence of a village shop, we are the only place in the village that you can buy milk, bread and so on (we even have toilet rolls). We therefore think that for the time being at least, the best thing we can do is try to keep going – we will keep the pub open, but take further steps to minimise the risks.

We will try our best to communicate with all of you as openly as we can. But please bear in mind that we have no idea what is going to happen next. The Prime Minister’s statement tonight has made a difficult situation a lot worse, and tomorrow the whole situation could change again.

Last weekend we issued a ‘ten point plan’ to all our staff. That remains in place.

In addition:

1. We will be putting up regular communication on our social media. Please ensure you are following the pub on facebook, twitter and instagram, if you use them. As things change we will keep putting out new updates.

2. We un-set several of our tables tonight, and will probably physically remove some into storage. The intention here is to space out customers so each family/group is sitting at least 1 metre away from anyone else. Please respect this effort when you visit the pub, and if a member of staff asks you to move tables, please be understanding.

3. Please WASH YOUR HANDS ON ARRIVAL at the Geese and Fountain. Remember, it’s not just for you – it’s to help safeguard everyone else.

4. We are going to close out online bookings for our B&B rooms. Online booking systems don’t always pass contact details for customers on to us, and in the circumstances we must be able to get in touch with customers in advance of their arrival. We will continue to take BOOKINGS FOR ROOMS OVER THE TELEPHONE ONLY.

5. We will be contacting people who have booked for Mother’s Day lunch this Sunday over the next couple of days, once we have decided the appropriate level to cap bookings at. We will not be taking any more bookings for Mother’s Day at this point. We might ask you to come at a slightly different time as we try to space out bookings more throughout the day and around the pub, keeping everyone as safe as possible. For those who are not able to come this Sunday, we are already planning a “Mother’s Day Part Two” for later in the summer, once things are back to normal.

6. We encourage all our customers to continue to use the Geese and Fountain for take-away, even if you don’t feel able to enjoy a visit to the pub. And we could potentially offer delivery to Croxton and nearby villages – please ask us if this is something that you would find helpful. Remember that we sell several basic household essentials as well as hot and cold food, beers, wines, ciders and soft drinks, chocolate bars and even toilet rolls. Apparently some supermarkets had run out of potatoes this morning, so one customer left here with two pints of beer and a bag of spuds. This is how we survive.

It’s such a shame that the situation has deteriorated today, after what was a wonderful weekend in so many respects. Casino Night in particular was great. Let’s try to keep the positive stuff in our minds over the next few weeks – we have a very special pub, and we are part of a very special Croxton Kerrial community. We can pull together and pull through this situation, and come out of it stronger. In the meantime, wash your hands, and keep the faith!

Love and best wishes to all our customers. Please keep well.

Nick, Kate, Sophie, Greg and all the team at the G&F

An Update from The Geese and Fountain regarding Covid-19 (coronavirus)

This is a long post, and there aren’t many jokes, sorry. Please read until the end, though, there’s a lot we need to say…

An Update from The Geese and Fountain regarding Covid-19 (coronavirus)

We wanted to share with all our friends and customers the steps we are taking to ensure that the Geese & Fountain remains a healthy and safe place for you to come to, and also to outline some of the ways in which we can try to help members of our community who are facing difficulties. We also need to ask for your help.

The health threat represented by the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19 are rightly causing concern throughout society. Small businesses, especially in the hospitality sector, are under massive pressures already, and the impact of the current situation is potentially very damaging to many of us. But as a business with strong community focus, the health of colleagues, friends, family, our customers and the wider community is our main concern. By maintaining the highest hygiene standards and sharing official advice with our staff and customers, we hope we can play our role in limiting the spread of Covid-19.

The attached document was circulated to all our staff at a meeting last weekend. Many of the steps we are taking in regards to Coronavirus are things we already do as simple ‘best practice’ for a food and drink business. We want to re-assure all our customers that we are doing everything that we can to take care of you and keep you healthy while you are visiting us.

Key points for customers to note:

1. You will notice staff washing our hands more frequently than usual. This may delay us in serving you at busy times, but we hope you understand and bear with us.

2. We will be checking the ladies and gents toilets frequently for supplies of liquid soap, toilet rolls and towels but if you spot anything running low please let us know.

3. Please join us in washing your hands thoroughly before eating a meal, and after each visit to the toilet.

4. All drinks will be served in clean glasses, no refilling, to avoid any risk of cross-contamination.

5. There is little or no value in healthy individuals wearing face masks or gloves to halt the spread of infections such as coronavirus. We will therefore not be wearing masks or gloves, and we would ask you not to wear masks or gloves when visiting the pub – it only spreads unnecessary panic.

6. If you are unwell, we sadly have to ask you NOT to visit the pub.

7. We will be spraying tables with sanitiser after each use, but if you would like your table cleaned more frequently please ask us, we’d be happy to do so.

In addition, we are very conscious that Croxton Kerrial is potentially a difficult place in which to be ill, especially since the village shop is no longer open. We are already retailing a number of basic essentials at the pub – bread, milk, butter, pain killers, and even toilet rolls, but if there are other items which you would like us to have in stock please let us know.

We hope that this will reassure you that we are doing everything we can to keep the pub a healthy environment for you, and at this stage we have no plans for closing the pub or cancelling any events. We hope you can continue to support us, and we can get through these difficult times together.

A couple of notes for those of you concerned about coming out to the pub, but who are still keen to help us pay our bills through the next few weeks.

1. We are happy to offer TAKEAWAY on all our food, and there is a 20% discount on all bottled beers, wines and ciders for take-home orders. In addition, we will even consider an ad-hoc delivery service for Croxton Kerrial residents (it gives Nick an excuse to go for a walk around the village). So if you are feeling unwell, or self-isolating, and need food, drinks or other basic essentials, get in touch with the pub and we will do whatever we can to help you.

2. We do sell gift vouchers. This is important because, like many hospitality businesses, we’ve noticed a drop in trade over the past two weeks, and this is likely to get worse before it improves. In the meantime, all our bills continue to pile up, and our staff need paying. If you aren’t able to come to the pub but would still like to support our efforts to keep the business running, please consider buying a gift voucher, either for your own use in the future, or to give to friends or relatives. It really would make a big difference.

From Nick, Kate, Sophie, Greg and all our staff, we would like to thank you all for your custom and support and friendship. We value you all very much, and we look forward to celebrating with you when this difficult phase is over. In the meantime, we’re very much a community, and we would ask you to contact us if there is anything we can do to help you get through the next few weeks.