THE owner of landmark Black Country restaurant and bar Mad O’Rourkes Pie Factory was today celebrating the proposed easing of all lockdown restrictions that have hit the hospitality industry hard over the last 15 months.

Peter Towler, owner of the popular bar and eaterie in Tipton, said he's looking forward to the relaxation of restrictions including the wearing of facemasks, social distancing and other measures pubs and restaurants have had to adhere to but he has pledged to maintain table service for customers who would prefer it instead of ordering at the bar.

Mr Towler, aged 60, says although venues will once again be able to fill their venues to capacity once again that he will be keeping outdoor dining too...for customers’ peace of mind but also as people’s habits have changed during the pandemic. There will also be the option of screens at tables if customers want them.

The Hurst Lane destination boss, who introduced a new venture Pies by Post to help the business pivot during the last lockdown, said: “We’re looking forward to relaxing a little, but we’ll still be keeping an eye out to see how everything goes.

“We’ve got a nice garden area which people are able to use if they want to. People just enjoy sitting outside now, so we’re looking to extend the outside area and install more outdoor heating and undercover areas, so this area can also be used in the winter months.

“We’ll be keeping table service, but as we consider customer interaction to be very important, we’re looking at investing in an electronic programme which will be used by waiting staff coming to people’s tables, rather than an app used by customers. This means the orders will go straight to the kitchen and bar, increasing the overall efficiency.

“We’re hugely excited to be able to once again go up to maximum capacity, though we do currently have screens between tables which are mobile - so if anyone feels uneasy sitting close to another table, we can happily put those in place for them.

“As for face coverings, we’re going with whatever the Government advises. It’s all a learning curve, it’s all new, but we’re happy to see how it goes.

“We’re very much looking forward to returning to some form of normality.

“We’ve been extremely fortunate to have done better than expected during the pandemic, but we certainly welcome the easing of restrictions.

“We feel like we need to move forward now - and really hope it will be the right move.”

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