Pubs and restaurants have pulled back from the Eat Out to Help Out program as ‘rude’ customers abuse staff during the midweek rush.
Disgruntled staff in the country’s hospitality industry have shared their frustration after being greeted by guests eager to take advantage of the government program.
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Under the scheme, which went into effect earlier this month, restaurants charge customers half the price – up to £ 10 per dinner – on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, then claim the money from the government.
But owners say an increase in demand these days has led to insults on staff and “physical and mental stress.”
It comes as the government has revealed it is set to pay £ 180million to cover the cost of the discounted meals so far.
The Tavern Inn in Newquay is a place that has opted out of the discount program, which is capped at £ 10 per dinner and does not include alcoholic drinks.
Owner Kelly Hill told the BBC: ‘This has only brought us negativity due to the huge demand, causing long waits for food, too many tables and hostility towards our staff.
“People order big and big meals; they are unwilling to wait for their food; we shout at our staff for not having a table or for the slow service.
CLIENTS « RUDE »
“It puts a lot of pressure on our servers and kitchen staff.”
Sharing their frustration, the owners of the seaside restaurant, the Paddock Inn, near Tenby, Pembrokeshire, said revelers were benefiting from the widely popular program and had exhibited “extreme levels of rudeness” and caused “nothing. other than grief ”to the staff.
The Paddock Inn, in Penally, Wales, said it had joined it as a benefit for guests as “the custom is already there” for them anyway.
But since they only have one chef in the kitchen due to restrictive social distancing measures, meals were taking longer than usual.
The restaurant said, “Our team has persevered in accommodating those looking to get a meal at a great price, which has only brought them grief.
“The government program doesn’t do much for us because the custom already exists, but we decided to do it for you.
“However, we are seriously considering ending this problem due to the extreme levels of rudeness, lack of understanding and total impatience of some of our recent customers. ”
In Crantock, near Newquay, the C-Bay bistro says the program has led to a loss of business as people don’t book for the days it isn’t working.
Owner Nina Eyles said: “In July we were full every day, but now Mondays to Wednesdays are absolutely manic and we’re much quieter than normal on other days.
“If it was winter we would be very grateful and it would have been amazing. “
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs have revealed the enormous cost of the program so far, just hours after the Treasury said it had received 48,000 requests from the 85,000 restaurants that registered.
Rishi Sunak said: “Today’s figures show Britain is eating to help – with at least 35 million meals served in the first two weeks alone, which equates to more than half of the UK. Uni participating and supporting local hospitality jobs. sector.
“To rebuild better, we need to protect as many jobs as possible, which is why I urge all registered businesses to make the most of them by demanding their return today – it’s free, easy and pays off in five working days.
Hospitality workers have also taken to social media to document their issues with the program.
One person wrote: “Whoever invented this f ******* plan to help out obviously never worked in a restaurant.
What is Eat Out to Help Out?
The government covers half the cost of a meal out, up to £ 10 per person, including children’s meals.
The reduction means that a meal for one that costs £ 20 will be reduced to £ 10, but a meal of £ 25 for one will be reduced to £ 15 due to the cap of £ 10 per person.
There’s no limit to how many times you can use the discount, so in theory you can get half-price meals every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in August.
Companies will need to register for the program on Gov.uk before they can offer the discount, and be approved by the Food Standards Agency.
Instead of issuing coupons – which the government said increased the risk of fraud – restaurants, cafes and pubs will be able to collect the money.
The refund will then be transferred to the bank accounts of restaurants, cafes and pubs within five working days.
Customers will only benefit from the discount if they eat at a restaurant at a registered business.
“Literally the worst night of my 8 years in the hospitality industry of my life, some people are as rude as f ***. ”
Another wrote: “PSA: If you are booking a table to eat at the restaurant to help you, please allow the place to be full and the food to take a little longer than usual.”
“I’m sick of customers being so rude about something I can’t control. ”
The Heron Inn in Truro is another restaurant to withdraw the offer, citing the “rude” and “unwanted” behavior of customers as to why they decided to call the time on the program.
The hostel wrote on Facebook: “Safety is our number one priority, and with the increase in the number of people visiting us, it is difficult for us to manage with social distancing rules in place.
“We have received nasty comments and general unwanted behavior from customers when they cannot find a table because we have run out of capacity. ”
The Westleigh Inn near Bideford in Devon has also pulled out due to “physical and mental stress it has placed on us and all of our staff”.
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The Eat Out To Help Out program – which began on August 3 – saw some 24.5 million dishes eaten by Britons at 85,000 participating restaurants in its second week.
This figure is almost double the 10 million who took advantage of it between August 3 and 9.