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One of the hardest-hit industries during lockdown was the hospitality sector. Particularly concerning to regular pub-goers like ourselves. At We are Chain Ltd, we are lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the finest drinking and eating establishments in the South West and when one of them called us for help, how could we resist? 

The Compasses

We will let Ben the Landlord do the talking first:

“When the first lockdown hit us in March we went from being a pub with customers to a dead business. Like so many in our industry we diversified into takeaways. We were taking orders over the telephone and punching people’s credit card details into the PDQ machine. It was chaos and meant that someone had to be at the pub to take orders.

I knew that setting up an on-line shop was an option but I assumed that the cost would be prohibitive, particularly with no revenue coming through. I mentioned my dilemma to Jim, half of ‘We Are Chain’, who I knew from a weekly football game.

In Jim’s inimitable way he assured me that they could help at a very reasonable cost. Jim and Rupert quickly and painlessly set up a shop-front for us on our website and within a week we were selling through the site and taking payments online. This has completely revolutionised our takeaway business and significantly reduced the pain of further lockdowns.

We Are Chain now host our website and help us with all things digital. They understand Marketing, have a good sense of design, lots of common sense, they are very easy to work with, extremely competent and I would recommend them to anyone.”

Ben, Landlord, The Compasses Inn

The Compasses Inn, in Chicksgrove, Wiltshire, is an old haunt of ours and we love the food, old world atmosphere and fantastic service, not mention the ales on tap. It helps that Jim also plays football with a few of the staff and the welcoming owner Ben. We all know what happened to pubs last year and this was no difference. Instant closure with nothing in place to keep any kind of income going. 

The pub has a wordpress based website with information about events, menus and accommodation. In order to run a takeaway outfit as allowed by the rules, the pub had to take orders by phone and payments on their PDQ machines also over the phone. This makes it a laborious and time-consuming process, when what you really need is an efficient labour saving automation of the process to make it run smoothly. 

After some discussion about changing platforms, we decided the easiest way forward was to implement Woocommerce onto the current site and add a few useful restaurant plug ins that would enable us to produce up to date menus that could easily be ordered from. The next step was to ensure customers could arrange collection when it suited them and the pub. We added in some bespoke code and played around with the woocommerce back end to produce the right results. 

We are pleased to say the Compasses Inn survives today and is still producing some of the finest food in the area. Combining Mailchimp with Social media they are keeping their customers informed of the latest offers and keeping the kitchen busy. Prior to the lockdown we had helped gather their customer data from several sources, just in time for this vital use of email marketing, but that is another story. 

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