A newly reopened pub is soaring high above the cost-of-living storm thanks to a unique interview method and a personable customer relations approach.

The King’s Arms Hotel & Restaurant in Bicester's Market Square opened earlier this month on Friday, June 9, after new owners took over in April.

A spokesperson for The Kings Arms Hotel said: “I’ve operated the same way for six years. I don’t base things on interview technique, formalities, I just have a general chat with someone and get to know the person.

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“When recruiting, I give chefs £30, say ‘go to the shop, come back and make me three courses for two people.'

“They’ll go out there and decide how to allocate the money over each dish, but really, I want to know what their speciality dish is.

“The chef we have now did a confit duck leg, and he did it really, really well.

“The event went really well. There was a lot of positive feedback. People like the new venue, new bar products and decor.

“About a hundred people showed up. I was nervous because we had no messaged for table reservations, then about two hours before the event, phone calls began to flood in.

“There wasn’t an empty seat in the house.”

Food is not yet being served at the pub, but staff have reached out on social media asking the people of Bicester what they would like to see on the menu.

The spokesperson said: “40-50 per cent of our upcoming menu is made up of what people have suggested to us on Facebook. We’ve had lots of messages.

“Because we’re independent we have a lot of autonomy with our food and drink offerings. Some of the best suggestions we had were around the children’s menu.

“Someone wrote saying that children’s menus should be a smaller version of the adult menu, rather than a dainty portion of chips and sausages.

“We’ve taken that on board and will be offering proper dinners for children.

“We’ve also had people ask for lamb shanks, steaks and decent sandwiches. We thought it would be best to ask the locals what they actually want.

“It’s a destination to come and eat at, not just a place to quickly stop by.”

Twenty people turned up to the restaurant’s recruitment open day at the weekend, with six people securing a place and beginning training.

These included bar staff, a new chef and new housekeepers.

The pub has more events planned for the future, including live music and the opening of a beer garden.


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1