Croydon pub owner counts the cost of the pandemic in £200K loss

A pub owner in Croydon says that coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns this year have cost him more than £200,000.

Like bars and restaurants across the country, Crown and Pepper opened its doors after a month-long closure today.

Owner of the High Street bar, Raj Shulka, is worried that new Tier 2 restrictions will see him lose regular customers.

The new rules mean that alcohol can only be served with a substantial meal as well as people not being able to socialise indoors with other households as was the case previously.

Raj said: “It has been a nightmare really. We have got 20 plus staff members and we are worried about them, they’ve got rent to pay for.

“We have kept takeaway running through the lockdown, about 50 per cent of our business is food but that is only paying some of the wages, it is not enough to pay bills and rent. We are only just about surviving.”

The pub also has space for private events, usually popular with Christmas parties, all of which have now been cancelled.

Raj added: “Tier 2 is going to wean away the drinkers, people come and sit down have some drinks after work or come with their friends. A lot of our regulars will not come in now.

“All of our functions have been cancelled, we take reservations and deposits and we’ve had to refund those back as it is not the fault of the customer.

“I think the younger generation will want to come out, but there are a lot of the older crowd who aren’t going to come out, they come out to meet with friends but can’t do that anymore.”

This year, Raj says the business has lost more than £200,000.

The 53-year-old said that on top of the financial pressures of the pandemic, he is in the process of expanding the pub with building work currently underway.

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