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Your pub and hospitality experience as the Covid restrictions ease

VauxhallandI

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I was at a beefeater (owned by the same company) with a friend and his wife the other week (wasn't my choice - they have a young one and wanted to play it safe with where we went) and that very much matched your first night experience. Empty restaurant except for us and the table next to us. I guess it makes sense from a staff point of view - only one section of the place they need to keep an eye on!

Given it was an Indian restaurant I assume it was an independent place (I've always been a little confused by how you don't really see chain Indian or chain Chinese places like you do with other foods like Pizza, Italian, etc etc) and I have noticed that in general the chains have been more heavy handed than smaller places. Maybe a mix of independent places being more reliant on getting as many people through the door (of course chains are too - but its a little less direct) and chains being a bit more wary of potential impact to their brand if they have a headline story of them breaking the regulations?



Not that this is a defense of poor service (and it sounds like the service you got was very poor and I certainly am not surprised that you don't want to go there again) - hospitality staff are currently being utterly shafted. Overworked, understaffed and underpaid, whilst at the same time probably now being the main group of workers outside of health and care workers who are most likely to end up with COVID (and thus either actually get ill, or at the very least have to self isolate). It isn't a surprise the poor woman didn't react well to you making a joke at her expense. Especially something along those lines which she probably has heard time and time again (such jokes stop being funny after the 100th time!).
Well if she doesn't deliver any customer service and talks to people in that manner then she is only making a rod for her own back and she is in the wrong job.

How is she over worked? Working in a pub that is a third full.
 
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Dai Corner

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Well if she doesn't deliver any customer service and talks to people in that manner then she is only making a rod for her own back and she is in the wrong job.

How is she over worked? Working in a pub that is a third full.
As the barmaid in my regular pub says to customers she'd rather not have to serve "I'm paid to be nice to you".
 

greyman42

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Went to a pub in the City last week and they were terrible.

The young girl seemed very put out that I wasn't going to use the app. She completed it on her computer and to lighten the mood I said "Just please don't call before 10am" to which she replied "Don't worry I wouldn't call". If she thought I was chatting her up she was most mistaken. They then put us on a very small table that was supposed to be for 6. When the others came we asked to move as we had reserved two table next to each other and this could happen where we had been put. The girl said fine and found the other tables for us. As we walked to them some bloke barked at one of my colleagues about moving tables; he was put in his his place.

They then couldn't arrange anyone to serve; someone came over to say they were short staffed and it would be another 10 mins to take the order. Two of our party promptly left to go to another meet up that they were planning to go to later.

Myself and one other then had to leave to good somewhere else as well and as I walked past the bar to leave another bar bloke barked at me about a mask to which I told him I was exempt.

I won't be going back there again.
Do you mind saying which pub this was so i can avoid it?
 

WelshBluebird

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How is she over worked? Working in a pub that is a third full.

For a start many places are heavily understaffed at the moment (either because of Brexit meaning the cheap supply of naïve young foreign workers has dried up a bit, or because of people deciding after furlough not to come back to the sector - which is well known for taking the mick a little with how employers often treat staff, or because of staff having to self isolate) so right away that pushes more work onto those who are on shift. Infact staffing is so bad at the moment that a lot of places are having to close on certain days or have reduced opening hours.

And then you also have the current COVID related restrictions, which mean that in most places pub staff are having to do a hell of a lot more than they usually would. Running around taking orders, taking drinks to tables, taking payment, making sure people scan the NHS QR code / give their details, making sure people actually pay attention to the rules etc etc.

In every pub I've been to in the last month or so the staff have been non stop busy, and my partner (who works in the kitchen for a well known pub chain) has had the busiest and most demanding shifts they have had in four years of working there over the last few weeks. So pubs being physically less full in no way means staff are less busy at the moment - infact it is the reverse.

Well if she doesn't deliver any customer service and talks to people in that manner then she is only making a rod for her own back and she is in the wrong job.
You could very well say the reverse. By being difficult and by making jokes at the staffs expense you are making a rod for your own back in terms of not getting good customer service. The "attitude test" as many rail staff on this side talk about.
 

VauxhallandI

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For a start many places are heavily understaffed at the moment (either because of Brexit meaning the cheap supply of naïve young foreign workers has dried up a bit, or because of people deciding after furlough not to come back to the sector - which is well known for taking the mick a little with how employers often treat staff, or because of staff having to self isolate) so right away that pushes more work onto those who are on shift. Infact staffing is so bad at the moment that a lot of places are having to close on certain days or have reduced opening hours.

And then you also have the current COVID related restrictions, which mean that in most places pub staff are having to do a hell of a lot more than they usually would. Running around taking orders, taking drinks to tables, taking payment, making sure people scan the NHS QR code / give their details, making sure people actually pay attention to the rules etc etc.

In every pub I've been to in the last month or so the staff have been non stop busy, and my partner (who works in the kitchen for a well known pub chain) has had the busiest and most demanding shifts they have had in four years of working there over the last few weeks. So pubs being physically less full in no way means staff are less busy at the moment - infact it is the reverse.


You could very well say the reverse. By being difficult and by making jokes at the staffs expense you are making a rod for your own back in terms of not getting good customer service. The "attitude test" as many rail staff on this side talk about.
Honestly what joke so one little comment to lighten the mood is an issue?

How about the fact she failed my attitude test?

All she had to do was write down a name and number, there was no queue. It took 20 seconds.

I've been extremely busy in difficult circumstances since March 16 2020, you don't see me talking to customers like ****.

Every other pub I've been in has been pretty much fine, so why was it different here? Attitude of the staff is the answer.
 

Philip

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Honestly what joke so one little comment to lighten the mood is an issue?

How about the fact she failed my attitude test?

All she had to do was write down a name and number, there was no queue. It took 20 seconds.

I've been extremely busy in difficult circumstances since March 16 2020, you don't see me talking to customers like ****.

Every other pub I've been in has been pretty much fine, so why was it different here? Attitude of the staff is the answer.

It doesn't sound like your attitude towards the waitress or the other staff ("he was put in his place") was great either though. It works both ways.
 

bengley

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It doesn't sound like your attitude towards the waitress or the other staff ("he was put in his place") was great either though. It works both ways.
It sounds to me like that was down to the initial attitude of the staff.
 

VauxhallandI

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It sounds to me like that was down to the initial attitude of the staff.
Quite, they started off on the wrong foot. Why as she so put out to write a name and phone number down????

The fact they were rude to other member of my party too, does that mean we all failed your attitude test or maybe they are the common denominator?

Plus the fact if you were shouted at by a member of staff would you smile in return. All I said was "I have an exemption thank you" but I said it in a curt fashion as that is what he deserved.

Ive no idea why you people are tripping over to excuse this non customer service but frankly I'm passed discussing it now.

I was there, I've got along fine everywhere else Ive been.
 
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MikeWM

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I've just been looking at the box office stats since cinemas reopened this time around in mid-May.

For the UK, takings look to be running at about 50% of what would have been expected for similar films in 2019. So there is a way to go, but that's fairly reassuring, and a *lot* better performance than we were seeing in summer/autumn last year.

Which matches with my experience too - screenings are generally a lot busier than last summer/autumn, but still a way off 2019 levels.
 

WelshBluebird

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Apologies if I came across as too personal in my reply earlier, however I really do urge anyone who has had a bad hospitality experience recently to at least spare a thought for the staff in question. A lot of them will be being overworked and having to cover for the fact their employer are currently understaffed. A lot of them will be unable to take the breaks they are legally entitled to take despite working some stupid hours. Just have some compassion and empathy please. I appreciate having poor service isn't nice - but give staff the benefit of the doubt at the moment. Be extra nice and appreciative of their efforts. It is very likely that when a member of staff snaps at you it is because they are utterly fed up with the current situation a lot of them are currently having to deal with - it likely isn't personal so please try not to take it as such.

Maybe have a read for what staff are currently having to deal with - https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/brexit-covid-hospitality-staff-shortage-b1872132.html. Just some quotes from that, but it really is worth reading yourself:
Meanwhile, workers remaining in the industry are bearing the brunt of labour shortages, describing chaotic shift patterns and spiralling workloads as they struggle to keep up with demand.

Kevin, a head chef at a major hotel group in the east of England, says the situation is approaching a “crisis point” in his kitchen.
“The pressure is insane. Because you’re short-staffed all the time, the workload just goes through the roof. There’s just zero understanding of that,” he says. “Stress during service has been so mental that this week I had two chefs walk out, two days in a row – one left in tears and the other stormed out in a rage. The team are at breaking point, quite frankly. I saw one chef in tears practically the entire day.”

Meanwhile, an assistant manager at a pizzeria chain in the east of England tells The Independent that the restaurant he works at is operating with 50 per cent of its usual staff; he estimates they have about one waiter for every 20 tables.
When staff are literally either walking out in tears or storming out due to the current stress - then maybe, just maybe, staff have other things to think about other than if Joe Bloggs on table 5 is happy or not.
 
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VauxhallandI

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Apologies if I came across as too personal in my reply earlier, however I really do urge anyone who has had a bad hospitality experience recently to at least spare a thought for the staff in question. A lot of them will be being overworked and having to cover for the fact their employer are currently understaffed. A lot of them will be unable to take the breaks they are legally entitled to take despite working some stupid hours. Just have some compassion and empathy please. I appreciate having poor service isn't nice - but give staff the benefit of the doubt at the moment. Be extra nice and appreciative of their efforts. It is very likely that when a member of staff snaps at you it is because they are utterly fed up with the current situation a lot of them are currently having to deal with - it likely isn't personal so please try not to take it as such.

Maybe have a read for what staff are currently having to deal with - https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/brexit-covid-hospitality-staff-shortage-b1872132.html. Just some quotes from that, but it really is worth reading yourself:

When staff are literally either walking out in tears or storming out due to the current stress - then maybe, just maybe, staff have other things to think about other than if Joe Bloggs on table 5 is happy or not.
Fair enough
 

greyman42

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When staff are literally either walking out in tears or storming out due to the current stress - then maybe, just maybe, staff have other things to think about other than if Joe Bloggs on table 5 is happy or not.
Giving Joe Bloggs (the customer) a good experience is what is going to decide whether a particular establishment is a success or failure.
 

yorksrob

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If the Government fleeced the hospitality industry less through alcohol tax, licensed establishments might have better resources with which to pay more staff.
 

WelshBluebird

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Giving Joe Bloggs (the customer) a good experience is what is going to decide whether a particular establishment is a success or failure.
Maybe, but if as a member of staff you are being overworked, underpaid and taking the mick of by your employer, then I doubt that will be at the forefront of your mind when you have just done a 9-12 hour shift on your feet without a break.
 

Dai Corner

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Maybe, but if as a member of staff you are being overworked, underpaid and taking the mick of by your employer, then I doubt that will be at the forefront of your mind when you have just done a 9-12 hour shift on your feet without a break.
True. But just as if you're in a safety-critical role you put safety above all else if you're customer-facing you have to be polite however you feel underneath.

To repeat the quote I posted earlier "I'm paid to be nice to you".
 

bramling

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Apologies if I came across as too personal in my reply earlier, however I really do urge anyone who has had a bad hospitality experience recently to at least spare a thought for the staff in question. A lot of them will be being overworked and having to cover for the fact their employer are currently understaffed. A lot of them will be unable to take the breaks they are legally entitled to take despite working some stupid hours. Just have some compassion and empathy please. I appreciate having poor service isn't nice - but give staff the benefit of the doubt at the moment. Be extra nice and appreciative of their efforts. It is very likely that when a member of staff snaps at you it is because they are utterly fed up with the current situation a lot of them are currently having to deal with - it likely isn't personal so please try not to take it as such.

Maybe have a read for what staff are currently having to deal with - https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/brexit-covid-hospitality-staff-shortage-b1872132.html. Just some quotes from that, but it really is worth reading yourself:

When staff are literally either walking out in tears or storming out due to the current stress - then maybe, just maybe, staff have other things to think about other than if Joe Bloggs on table 5 is happy or not.

One does sympathise with the over-workedness, but it does need to be borne in mind that this is what other groups of people have had at times over the last year. Anything such as railway service or crew control / management, scheduling, planning etc will have been working through the roof at times - and not had many months on furlough to get a breather from it. No doubt there's plenty of other workplaces where same has applied.

The government will no doubt probably make the hospitality situation worse by doing something stupid like Eat Out To Help Out, just to create a demand surge when they least need it!

We *really* need to get back to 2019 normality.
 

greyman42

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One does sympathise with the over-workedness, but it does need to be borne in mind that this is what other groups of people have had at times over the last year. Anything such as railway service or crew control / management, scheduling, planning etc will have been working through the roof at times - and not had many months on furlough to get a breather from it. No doubt there's plenty of other workplaces where same has applied.

The government will no doubt probably make the hospitality situation worse by doing something stupid like Eat Out To Help Out, just to create a demand surge when they least need it!

We *really* need to get back to 2019 normality.
I agree. A eat out to help out offer would not do any one any favours. We really do need to get back to normality, in all walks of life, not just hospitality.
 

DannyMich2018

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We went out on Saturday night including one pub which openly re-opened a few days previously. Was quite a good atmosphere, none of the 3 were too fussy about t&trace and the last one about masks, non of the bar staff had them, they all had exemption lanyards on despite all been young, I went to the loo and even exited without one and had no problems, not that I'm complaining!!
Did notice that this and the other pub were a little quieter than the previous weekend so maybe the increasing cases putting some people off from going out? One bar I went passed yesterday on way to Sainsbury's is closed due to some staff with Cov19 however. We rarely go this place and certainly won't pay 12 quid for a breakfast there. I believe the staff are not seriously ill which is good news. Also noticed coming back from training at work today that a cafe at the top end of town despite been lunchtime was very quiet. can't help thinking like I said above that high cases rates are making some people uneasy and less likely to go out.
 

jumble

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Maybe, but if as a member of staff you are being overworked, underpaid and taking the mick of by your employer, then I doubt that will be at the forefront of your mind when you have just done a 9-12 hour shift on your feet without a break.

I cannot begin to imagine what it is like for such members of staff as dealing from experience I know that the general public can engage in some ghastly behaviour at the best of times
However pubs do not help themselves by having rude signs that are addressing their customers around like they are 12 years old
I have no objection to signs that say "Please" but far too many don't and I fell it reasonable that I am to be treated with respect as well if I am handing over my hard earned cash


I also think any pub demanding ID for Test and Trace is making a rod for their own backs as there does not seem to be any obligation for them to do so

UK Rules
The accuracy of the information provided will be the responsibility of the individual who provides it. You do not have to verify an individual’s identity for NHS Test and Trace purposes,
 
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johntea

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Nice to see Wetherspoons have basically ditched their specific ‘club’ days and you can now have curry / steak / fish and chips club any day of the week

Obviously you’re not getting Michelin star quality but a touch over a tenner for a large mixed grill including a pint which would cost £3 alone isn’t to be sniffed at!

Only thing now is I wish they would just return to the shared condiment bottles rather than the sachets some of which are impossible to open!
 

43066

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I also think any pub demanding ID for Test and Trace is making a rod for their own backs as there does not seem to be any obligation for them to do so

I quite agree: all they need to do is point you in the direction of the relevant QR code, or ask you to add your name/number to the list. There’s no need for any checks or “enforcement” beyond that, and landlords choosing to do so are essentially being jobsworths.
 

_toommm_

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Nice to see Wetherspoons have basically ditched their specific ‘club’ days and you can now have curry / steak / fish and chips club any day of the week

Obviously you’re not getting Michelin star quality but a touch over a tenner for a large mixed grill including a pint which would cost £3 alone isn’t to be sniffed at!

Only thing now is I wish they would just return to the shared condiment bottles rather than the sachets some of which are impossible to open!
Definitely bring the bottles back, so we can have the hot sauce again. It’s the one thing I miss with Spoons food now.
 

WelshBluebird

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Nice to see Wetherspoons have basically ditched their specific ‘club’ days and you can now have curry / steak / fish and chips club any day of the week
At the cost of striking off some of the options from those days to reduce the amount of different things the staff in the kitchen would have to deal with at the same time. I'm not sure of all the changes but I know you can no longer get a Korma for example.
 

43066

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At the cost of striking off some of the options from those days to reduce the amount of different things the staff in the kitchen would have to deal with at the same time. I'm not sure of all the changes but I know you can no longer get a Korma for example.

I’ve never really bought the rationale behind reducing menus (other than products not being available, which isn’t often actually cited).

Is it really to make social distancing in the kitchen easier, or is it really just an excuse to cut down the menu/employ fewer staff? Presumably in somewhere like a ‘spoons most of the meals just come out of the freezer, into the microwave and then straight onto a plate in any case.
 

jumble

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At the cost of striking off some of the options from those days to reduce the amount of different things the staff in the kitchen would have to deal with at the same time. I'm not sure of all the changes but I know you can no longer get a Korma for example.
The website is pretty helpful to answer this.
No more Lamb Rogan Josh which is a shame


Customers will be able to enjoy four meals on the Curry Club.

The meals are Chicken jalfrezi, Beef Madras, Chicken tikka masala and Mangalorean roasted cauliflower & spinach curry.

Each is served with basmati pilau rice, plain naan bread and poppadums.

The pubs will also offer the four meals as a simple curry meal, served with either basmati pilau rice or chips.

The Steak Club will offer customers a choice of four meals; Classic 8oz sirloin steak, served with jacket potato, chips or Rainbow quinoa salad, Gourmet 8oz sirloin steak, served with peas, tomato, mushroom, three onion rings and a steak sauce, with a choice of chips or jacket potato, as well as mixed grill or large mixed grill, served with peas, tomato, mushroom and a choice of chips or jacket potato.

All of the prime beef steaks come from Britain and Ireland, are matured for 21 days and then seasoned in the Wetherspoon pub kitchen.

The third club, Fish and Chips, offers a choice of two meals (which can also be served as smaller portions).

Freshly battered cod and chips, served with peas or mushy peas and Whitby breaded scampi, served with chips and peas is available.

Sunday Brunch is replaced by the All Day Brunch, which will also be available seven days a week (and will include a drink).

Other meals on the menu, such as Five-bean chilli and Wiltshire cured ham, eggs and chips, also includes a drink.

This means that all main meals on the Wetherspoon menu will include a drink (with the exception of breakfasts).

Wetherspoon’s chief executive John Hutson said: “ We are confident that our customers will welcome the opportunity to enjoy our Club meals at all times and not just on specific days as has always been the case.
 
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I’ve never really bought the rationale behind reducing menus (other than products not being available, which isn’t often actually cited).

Is it really to make social distancing in the kitchen easier, or is it really just an excuse to cut down the menu/employ fewer staff? Presumably in somewhere like a ‘spoons most of the meals just come out of the freezer, into the microwave and then straight onto a plate in any case.

I think it's mostly down to the uncertaincy of the times: variable customer demand, unpredictable and often sudden changes in government restrictions and guidance, potential sudden closure if there's covid cases amongst staff, weather (there's a lot more use of outdoor areas), wobbly supply chains (both covid and brexit related) the list goes on

Reducing the range you stock or the scope of the menu lets you streamline the stock you have to keep which can then reduce wastage. A lot of Real Ale pubs have had to pull back on the range of cask they offer as venue capacity is still suppressed by physical distancing rules and you only have a very short window to sell each cask before it goes off. On top of that a sudden closure could mean pouring hundreds of pounds worth of stock down the drain

There's also an argument for having a simpler, more limited customer offering and being able to consistently meet that than trying to achieve previous levels of offer and failing or having patchy availabilty
 

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