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Country pub sells £25,000 of gift cards in lockdown

Regulars at village pub the Devonshire Arms have spent £25,000 on gift cards to support their local during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The pub in Middle Handley, Derbyshire, has worked with gift card platform Toggle to encourage loyal customers to buy cards which can be used to buy food and drink from the Devonshire Arms once the happy day arrives and the pub can reopen.

Located between Chesterfield and Sheffield, the Devonshire Arms has built up an impressive following thanks to a combination of fresh, seasonal food, great drinks including cask ales, cocktails and wine, and a warm welcome from the team led by father and daughter owners John Tompkins and Alex Tunney, and manager Hugh Wragg.

The business took full advantage of Toggle’s decision to makes its service free once the coronavirus lockdown began in March. “The priority was to ensure that there was a pub to return to for staff, friends and valued customers,” said Hugh. “We signed up on the Monday, and were live selling a huge number of cards from our website by the Wednesday. Set-up was quick and easy.”

The pub had previously sold paper gift vouchers and offers through Groupon, but working with Toggle has enabled it to bring all its offers in-house and sell online. Cards are available in £10, £20 and £50 values, and can be redeemed by customers across the bar when the pub reopens.

Hugh added:

“The response has been fantastic, with £25,000 of sales so far, showing just how much our customers value the pub and its place in the community. Promoting the gift cards through our social media, and our 3,000-strong database, has also given us a reason to keep in touch with our regulars and keep the Devonshire Arms ‘family’ together.” 

Hospitality businesses can now access Toggle at to quickly set up a bespoke, branded gift card webshop free of charge. Some 700 pubs, bars and restaurants are live on Toggle, 300 of them coming on board since lockdown was announced.

Users can be up and running in around 30 minutes, making gift cards available for customers to buy online and send to recipients by email. The specialist team at Airship, which operates the system, will also provide any technical support needed free of charge.

Dan Brookman CEO of Airship said: “Businesses such as the Devonshire Arms are the life-blood of their communities. By making Toggle free for the duration of the shutdown, we’re helping operators and their customers ensure that there’s a thriving hospitality sector when we come out the other side.”

Operators using Toggle include: JW Lees, Yummy Pubs, Boston Tea Party, Brewhouse & Kitchen, Côte, Turtle Bay, San Carlo, Bob Bob Ricard, Park Chinois, Revolución de Cuba, Hickory’s Smokehouse, Ego Restaurants & Rosa’s Thai Café.