During last year’s inaugural Dog-friendly Pub Awards, we loved hearing all the stories of dog-friendly pubs whose staff were going the extra mile to make doggy customers welcome. One of the stand-out pubs was undoubtedly The King Stag – regional winners in the East of England.
We caught up with Rose Neale who leads the whole pooch-loving pub gang at The King Stag to see how their new found fame as regional winners has been treating them, and to get the scoop on how they’re planning to up their game during this year’s Awards.
DogBuddy: What difference has winning this award made to your pub over the last year?
Rose Neale: We’ve had a fabulous year for our visiting pooches. We were thrilled at the coverage the Awards got in the press last year and we’ve had a lot more people visiting after hearing about our dog-friendly status, particularly from the local community.
We’ve had some great comments from people who have seen the DogBuddy plaque in the pub and the logo on our website and Facebook page. Many first-time visitors who left their dogs at home have returned with their dogs, which is really wonderful!
DB: What do you put your success in last year’s awards down to?
RN: I think our success in last year’s awards was down to being so welcoming to our doggy visitors. They are always greeted with a saucer or dog biscuits and a bowl of water and their owners just love this! We always go just that bit further for our dogs as we do for our human visitors and I think that doesn’t go unnoticed. As a result we got lots of votes from returning customers and others who we had been recommended to. Customers love our dog menu and monthly dog walks – little touches like that really helped boost those votes!
DB: What advice do you have for pubs who want to win this year?
RN: Our advice is to treat your doggy customers like you would your human customers. They’re just as important! You want to make them feel just as welcome and give them a great experience. It helps to employ staff who are dog lovers because then your canine customers are bound to feel welcomed.
If we could do absolutely anything to make our pub even more dog-friendly we’d extend our garden to have a dog paddock! Sadly, this is rather unlikely as we’d need a lot more space and money, but we can dream…
DB: Have you got anything special planned to attempt to retain your title this year?
RN: We had a charity dog festival here in July which was a great success! We raised money for the RSPCA and a local animal charity Heathlands. We had doggie stalls, flyball, a BBQ for dogs and a dog show. It was so successful that we’re going to be making it an annual event. We’ve now introduced dog fries on to our doggie menu and now sell Snuffle Dog Beer behind the bar. We’re soon to be introducing a meal deal for dogs too. A sausage, dog fries and dog beer! Our monthly dog walks are still hugely popular, pub dog Charlie has become the face of the pub and is a popular member of the team, and the dog menu is proving as popular as ever.
Sounds fantastic! That’s it from The King Stag team for now – we’ll keep a close eye on that East of England Leaderboard as the competition heats up.
Know an East of England pub that deserves to be named the region’s most popular dog-friendly drinking hole for pooches and their owners? Cast your vote now.