Corfe Castle pub gets creative to attract punters in uncertain times

Following a difficult few years for the hospitality industry, The Greyhound in Corfe Castle is tempting pub-goers back with its new al fresco dining terrace, marquee and interior refurbishment as well as offering a hog roast on Sundays.

Grenville Young, who owns the picture postcard pub, with his wife Jacci Pestana, says venues need to give customers more of an experience if they are to continue pulling crowds as well as pints.

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Grenville and Jacci
Grenville Young

Grenville Young and his wife Jacci Pestana who own The Greyhound

“They are looking for an experience”

The Greyhound, with its location below the mound of Corfe Castle, can lay claim to being one of the most photographed pubs in the country.

But just being a traditional pub is not enough these days, so the couple have had to think creatively to keep drawing in visitors and regulars alike. Even for a greyhound it’s a lot of running to keep up.

Grenville said:

“Last year it was tough for this industry, but for those who responded correctly to the conditions it was also a good year.

“This year, with the situation in Ukraine and the price increases, people are coming out, but they’re not coming out in great volumes, and I think they are coming out less frequently.

“They are not just looking for food and drink, they are looking for an experience.”

Terrace at The Greyhound
Grenville Young

The covered terrace at The Greyhound is one of the adaptations

“Al fresco dining is all the rage”

The couple have invested more than a quarter of a million pounds in upgrading the kitchens and refurbishing the interior.

They now have a marquee and terrace dining at the back with weekly Sunday hog roasts. The area can accommodate more than 80 people, with another 100 in the garden.

Grenville said:

“Al fresco dining is all the rage now because of Covid, so we updated the terrace and people are really loving it.”

The terrace bar is given over to occasional themed ‘takeovers’. So, on Saturday 6th August 2022 it is locally produced Gloriette gin and the following week, Saturday 13th August it is Purbeck Cider. Regular acoustic sessions add something extra to Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Hog roast at The Greyhound
Grenville Young

A Sunday hog roast is one of the new features

“It’s a lot more stressful running a pub”

Born and bred in Poole, Grenville was in the Navy for eleven years before moving into banking.

He worked as a data manager with international investment bank JP Morgan, before taking early retirement to start a new career in hospitality.

Grenville met and married South African Jacci who has owned The Greyhound for 22 years.

He said:

“It’s a lot more stressful running a pub than it was in corporate finance. I may have been dealing with huge amounts of money and I had to spend it wisely but now its ours and in the current economic climate things are getting harder. It’s a difficult time but you have to keep optimistic.

“The Greyhound is a very traditional pub but with a modern and cool twist to it. There’s definitely a summer vibe to the place.”

They have also expanded their business portfolio to include a share in the Old Thatch at Stapehill, near Wimborne, and the Upwey Wishing Well tea rooms, near Weymouth.

The Greyhound in Corfe Castle
Grenville Young

A whole hog roast is on the menu for Sunday’s during the summer

Unusual hobby

When not behind the bar, Grenville collects fountain pens with between 300 and 400 of them. It was a taste he developed when he worked in New York where there was a specialist retailer across the road from Wall Street.

By keeping the best of the old, but adapting to changing expectations, Grenville and Jacci believe they can pen themselves a successful future!

The Greyhound in Corfe Castle
Grenville Young

One of the most photographed pubs in Britain – The Greyhound is ringing the changes

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