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Mouton Chapel landlord: 'Use your locals or risk losing them'

The landlord of a village pub is appealing for people to use their locals rather than large corporate chains - or risk losing them.

Steve Thorne took over The Jolly Farmer in Moulton Chapel last year and says that independent pubs are becoming an “endangered species” after once being the hub of their local communities.

With competitive prices on beer and freshly cooked food, Mr Thorne would like to understand what customers want from their local nowadays.

Steve Thorne at The Jolly Farmer in Moulton Chapel.
Steve Thorne at The Jolly Farmer in Moulton Chapel.

Figures released by the Campaign for Real Ale show that 378 pubs closed between July and December 2018.

He said: “We are an endangered species, not because we are lazy, but how do we compete? What do I need to do to get people into this pub? I wish someone would tell me.

“We are less than £3 a pint but it doesn’t make any difference. We have a menu for £3.95 and Sunday lunch with a dessert for £6.95 which is as competitive as anyone.

“It is almost about raising people’s awareness that once small pubs close it will have a detrimental effect on the villages. Use us or lose us.”

The smoking ban and supermarkets are reported to be having an effect but rural pubs also face the additional problem with attracting younger customers before they journey into town.

Mr Thorne says his pub supports other local businesses by buying meat and produce from local suppliers, such as Bennett’s in Spalding.

He also puts on entertainment evenings with live music.

Mr Thorne said: “We buy fresh produce and cook it. We are not a microwave pub, we cook things like a lot of independents.

“People drive past the village pubs to visit national chains. You get a bit more from a village pub. We have a great Sunday but we are relying on one or two days to break even. A good
week for us is when we break even.”

• What do you think? Email letters to jeremy.ransome@iliffepublishing.co.uk

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