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Staff ditching work-from-home Fridays and returning to the pub, says Fuller’s

'People that I speak to are thriving being back in offices again', says Simon Emeny
'People that I speak to are thriving being back in offices again', says Simon Emeny - Eddie Mulholland

The end of workers only heading into the office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays has delivered a boost to Britain’s pubs, the boss of Fuller’s has said.

Simon Emeny said his pub chain had recently seen more customers returning to pre-pandemic working schedules, which has led to a rise in footfall across the entire week.

He said: “What we’re seeing with urban areas, particularly London, is that Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday is still strong, but actually we are seeing growth on Mondays and Fridays.

“We’ve seen a return to much more normalised consumer behaviour – there’s definitely a big return to offices and good growth in tourism.”

Pubs in urban areas that relied on sales from after-work drinks suffered post-Covid as many employees continued to work at home.

This led to many employees steering clear of the office on Mondays and Fridays, earning them the nickname “TWaTs” – in reference to only going in on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

However, this has had a significant impact on the pub trade, which benefitted from Friday being a peak time for drinkers.

It comes as employers push to increase the amount of time workers spend in the office.

Some companies have already ordered staff back full-time, while others have introduced incentives to lure workers back.

Mr Emeny said: “People that I speak to are thriving being back in offices again, thriving working as teams and we’re certainly seeing that in our sales on Mondays and Fridays.

“I feel very optimistic that over the course of time, homeworking is going to dissipate.”

Fuller’s, which runs around 369 pubs across the UK, posted a 61pc rise in adjusted pre-tax profits from £12.7m to £20.5m over the year to 30 March, spurred by an 11pc rise in like-for-like sales.

However, Mr Emeny warned the inflationary crisis was “certainly not over” despite the headline rate falling to 2.3pc, as he said a recent jump in the National Living Wage had increased cost pressures on pubs.

Mr Emeny said: “We’ve got some deflation, particularly around food. But I think the biggest cost of running a pub is around labour.”

Ahead of the general election in July he urged the eventual winner to reform business rates.

He said: “Every single Conservative manifesto since 2010 has promised a reform of business rates, which is long overdue.

“The society and the world that we compete in now has to recognise that just putting the 100pc of the burden on bricks and mortar retailers is unsustainable and they have to find a way of collecting a greater proportion of tax from online retailers.”