Thwaite pub The Walnut Tree near A140 suffering ill effects of phone number removal
Fears of table booking hold ups and damage to long-term business have left a pub owner feeling frustrated.
Jan Wise, owner of The Walnut Tree in Thwaite, near the A140, spent hours on the line to Vodafone after a switch from copper cables to fibre led to the pub’s phone number being changed without any warning.
Despite her efforts to get the vegetarian pub’s previous number reinstated, she was told that once that number had been discontinued, it could not be restored.
“I asked if the number would change, and they said it wouldn’t,” she said.
“If they’d told me categorically that I would lose my number, I would have had a rethink.
“Several people have told me that they have tried calling the pub and can’t get through, and it has to have been causing us lost bookings.
“It’s not easy to say how much damage it has caused because we’ve had poor weather and there’s been cost-of-living issues for people, but the phone has been ringing less.”
The pub has its old number printed on flyers and business cards which have been distributed this year, along with it being printed on the Good Pub Guide publication, which cannot be altered.
Having recently opened a produce shop beside the pub, the complications have not come at the best time for the business.
“I’ve been busy getting the new shop up and running and organising that side of things, so it hasn’t been ideal,” said Mrs Wise, who lives at the pub.
“We had been incredibly busy after Covid, and the shop is the perfect way to get people to come out for a coffee and to pick up some produce, but it takes some work to get set up.
“So, to have this suddenly happen when we’re very busy trying to expand what we offer is a bit of a disaster.
“We have changed the number now on all of our digital pages, but that might only reach 50 per cent of our customers. It’s difficult to say exactly how many bookings we have lost, but it has certainly affected us.”
Mrs Wise has been running The Walnut Tree for more than six years, helping the establishment to flourish, despite having to close during the pandemic.
“I spent a lot of time on the phone to Vodafone’s complaints department, but, apparently, once the number is changed, it can’t be retrieved as it has been completely deactivated by Open Reach,” she added.
“So Vodafone can’t do much about it now, it seems – but what they could have done was give me the correct information in the first place.”
Vodafone was approached for comment, but did not respond.