In 2013 Hendrik and Julie took on The White Horse in Kings Sutton, following their joint dream to run their own pub restaurant.
They fell in love with The White Horse and the local area the first time they came to look around and when you arrive at the picture postcard village green overlooking St Peter and Paul’s Church they are sure you will feel the same way.
Their vision is to provide consistently excellent food and service in the familiar surroundings of a country pub with bags of character.
The Pub’s striking solid oak bar is the focal point when you walk through the front door and in the colder months the open fire crackles away in the background. In the warmer months the patio area is the ideal place to enjoy an alfresco meal and stay to watch the sun set behind the Church.
But these are all quintessential idylls that we all took for granted prior to 2020 and covid hitting the world in the most unprecedented time in a generation.
Wondered how we’ve managed to navigate through the last 12 months of Lockdowns 1, 2 & 3? Thought it was the right time to share our story with you…and put add a note to The White Horse Pub’s annals of history….
On the anniversary of the Lockdown 1 it seems the right time to write a few words about our experience. It might serve as a reminder in the future of how this pub as one of many weathered the storm.
When we were told last year that we’d have to close our doors and shut the pub & restaurant we, like so many, were confused, stunned, almost lost. As a small family business, with our team, our suppliers and our diners very much a part of The White Horse family, the main concerns were multiple. Our ability to keep our staff on the payroll, our ability to help keep our suppliers going, our ability to help our local community customers and to still have a business when ‘it was all over’ for the family. We had no clue it would take this long!
News of the furlough scheme was a huge relief and meant that the team was safe. The government grant meant we could keep the roof over our heads by being able to pay some fixed costs, but we still had all the other overheads, bills & outstanding supplier credits to pay and we knew we had to find a way to keep the business going in order to guarantee job safety and our own future for the longer term. We spent a few weeks planning and launched Dine at Home in April 2020 along with Essential Food & Cleaning Product Parcels. Otto was still under 4 months old so Julie had her hands full, but they both devised a survival plan. Hendrik reorganised the kitchen so it could be a ‘one person operation’. Whilst Julie organised all the orders and collections and the many email enquiries that came in. Then it was time to develop the outside space, being ready for diners to be able to dine outside, because the inside space layout for Covid 19 would mean a significant loss of tables.
Still not happy with being able to provide adequate service, Julie had the idea of the food truck. So in Early August the food truck arrived, along with Flexi-furlough so Takeaway food was now possible, alongside the dining inside. Now was the time to really reflect and look inward on what food Hendrik was really passionate about. The Support Local menu encapsulated this and he goes the drive and enthusuasm was back again. Things were starting to shape up and then ‘bang’…Lockdown 2 and the weather was less than kind…The truck continued as well as Dine at Home. Emma & Viktorija stoically stood outside no matter the weather to greet and serve cutsomers. Opening back up in December Nerves were frayed, but we just had to carry on, listening to our customers intently to see what else we could do and be so grateful to Emma & Victoria for managing everything front of house. Then ‘bang’ … Lockdown 3 at Christmas. Thanks to our customers we came through Christmas, Hendrik has never made so many Xmas dinners in just a short space of time ready for collection, but the feedback gave us heart to keep the momentum going!
January saw the start of our local produce shop, which adds to our Support Local initiative. We have adapted to each challenge, we are battered and bruised BUT the local support has been so massive, that we cannot do anything else but be ready for the reopening of the restaurant & pub, so we can be the whole White Horse family once more. We have a long way to go but we will all get there.