Perfect score for two pubs near Henley

Catherine Wheel landladies Vanessa Cooke (centre) and Katrena Derricourt-Gibson (right) celebrate their win with Brakspear’s Gavin Mansfield

The Rising Sun on Witheridge Hill and the Catherine Wheel in Goring have both scored full marks in a mystery customer visit. They were the only Brakspear pubs to achieve 100% in the latest round of visits and join a select group of just 16 pubs ever to get a perfect score in the eight years of the scheme.

The mystery customers had nothing but praise for both pubs. Comments on the report from the Rising Sun diners included: “Our dishes – fish & chips and a burger – were delicious and excellent examples of high quality, traditional pub food”;  “the waiting team smiled, gave us good advice on dishes to try, and made us feel very welcome” and “we will return and recommend the pub to friends and family.”

Landlord and landlady Simon & Caroline Pritchard took on the Rising Sun in September last year. Caroline said: “We’ve been working hard to improve customers’ experience ever since we arrived in the pub.  This score is a great credit to our wonderful team both front of house and in the kitchen, who all put in a huge effort to give every customer a great time at the pub, whether they’re popping in for a pint or enjoying a special meal.”

At the Catherine Wheel, the mystery customers said: “The live music was fun and there was a great atmosphere in the pub”; “the food was very tasty and showed that the pub really cared about the quality of their offering” and “our server and the manager were very impressive, friendly and made us feel at home.”

Landlady Vanessa Cooke said: “We’ve worked really hard in our two and a half years at the pub to ensure consistent standards of food, drink and customer service, so it’s great to see that effort rewarded with this 100% score. Thanks to our wonderful team of staff who deliver outstanding service with a smile, even on the busiest nights, and make sure all our customers have a great time at the Catherine Wheel.”

Tom Davies, chief executive of Brakspear, said: “Many congratulations to Simon & Caroline and Vanessa & Katrena and their teams for this wonderful achievement.

“We’ve been running our mystery customer scheme for eight years with specialists the Silent Customer, so we can see clear patterns of what’s important to customers.  Whether they’re in a gastropub or a community pub, the biggest factor in whether they enjoy their visit is the customer service and as this score shows, the teams at both pubs are getting this spot on.”

Janet Wood, founder of Henley company The Silent Customer, who conduct the mystery visits for Brakspear, said, “Scoring 100% in our mystery visits is far from easy, as indicated by the very few who have done so over the years. We make high demands on the licensees when we visit their pub, so to achieve full marks across everything from the staff greeting to the quality of the food and drink and the marketing, is a great achievement and the teams at both pubs should feel very proud.”

For more information on the Rising Sun:

For more information on the Catherine Wheel: