Case Study

Flat Cap Ale Houses - Helping the pub group adjust to pandemic challenges

There is no doubt that one of the industries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic has been the food and beverage industry, and in particular the traditional pub and ale houses, most of which were forced to close for the duration of the national lockdowns.

Staying afloat in these extraordinary circumstances has proven a huge challenge for most businesses in the sector, but MWA was able to help Flat Cap Ale Houses overcome these difficulties through a flexible, agile approach to their accounting.

In this case study, we look at how we were able to help Flat Cap Ale Houses to react quickly to the changing needs of a volatile market, allowing them to emerge from the pandemic with their business in good health.

The background

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitality businesses faced unprecedented difficulties. Lockdown orders and social distancing rules meant that most premises had to be closed down completely for months, or operate with drastically reduced visitor numbers.

At MWA, we have supported all of our clients in this sector throughout the pandemic with their furlough claims and loan applications, as well as working with them on re-forecasting. We have also helped them take a proactive promotional approach and helped them revisit margin opportunities when switching business models from dining in to takeout.

Thanks to our established specialism in the food and beverage sector, we have been central to facilitating an exchange of ideas between clients on strategies that have worked for them in these challenging circumstances.

The challenge

Flat Cap Ale Houses is a small pub group, responsible for operating the award-winning Salisbury Ale House and Lass O' Gowrie pubs in the centre of Manchester. MWA has been working with Flat Cap Ale Houses for a number of years prior to the pandemic.

Our normal services were to prepare quarterly accounts, consistent with the type of accounting you would expect from this type of pub group, as well as several other additional accounting and payroll services. However, as the country came out of the first lockdown and the rules for pubs were quickly changing, we needed to help the group adopt a flexible terms of service approach in order to meet the fast-changing needs of the business and its customers.

How MWA helped

As with so many of our other restaurant and pub/ale house clients, MWA was able to introduce a flexible new approach to our accounting services to help Flat Cap Ale Houses to make the decisions they needed to make quickly and responsively, adjusting fluidly to the changing rules and regulations.

This included:

  • Changing from quarterly to 4-weekly management accounts 
  • Helping the pubs adapt their staffing, rotas and opening hours around the new COVID-19 rules
  • Providing feasibility studies on how to trade in a socially distanced manner
  • Offering assistance with furlough claims, loan applications and other government support schemes

In doing so, MWA helped Flat Cap Ale Houses to navigate the significant difficulties caused by pandemic trading, putting them in a position to successfully reopen the Salisbury Ale House and Lass O' Gowrie in a safe and sustainable way.

Testimonial - from Matt Muszynski, Director of Flat Cap Ale Houses

We have been working with MWA for a number of years. Richard and his team have supported us with accounting and payroll services, providing tailored solutions and assistance.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, MWA has been invaluable, offering frequent updates regarding government support schemes and switching our management accounts from quarterly to monthly, allowing us to respond dynamically to the challenges we have faced.

Find out more

To learn more about how MWA can help your food and beverage business to embrace flexible accounting processes and meet the challenges of the current marketplace, contact us today. Call us on 0161 826 5259, send us an email at, or fill in our online contact form.