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Your pub and hospitality experience as the Covid restrictions ease

DannyMich2018

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19 Dec 2018
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Does anyone else find that compulsory table service means one tends to eat/drink more?

A good waiter/waitress will spot when you've finished, come over and ask if you'd like anything else. Ordering by app is much easier than getting up and going to the bar.

Talking of apps, I've accumulated loads over the last year or so. I wish there was just one that every hospitality business used!
Yes I would defo agree with that! Last Saturday me and my partner called into the Piper after having a few hours around Wicksteed Park (which was the busiest I've probably ever seen it, crazy golf was crazy busy and other rides which were open were too especially the train which is running at 50% capacity) We had one drink and were temped to have another, was daytime so was warm to sit outside so had 2.
On Saturday we went just to one pub and was offered another round but was too cold so went home, was like 2200hrs so getting very cold by then! Looking forward to opening properly.
Due to the awful weather yesterday I doubt few were around and many presumably had to close due to the heavy rain and wind, my nephew was going out for his first ever pint but didn't in the end, he was 18 on 23rd Dec. He'll try again Saturday.
 
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Darandio

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Not my experience but i've just seen an experience that I imagine wasn't very good.

The current wind chill temperature here is 1°, we have gusts of over 35mph and the rain is coming down at 45 degrees, in short it's bloody awful. I've just practically stood open mouthed as a bloke sits outside my local Morrisons eating one of their breakfasts. It's not like they are even that nice.

And I thought the two ladies sat outside a more sheltered area at Costa were mad, this one is several levels above.
 

duncanp

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I look forward to the day when i can walk into a pub, order at the bar and sit where i want. Obviously without a ridiculous mask.

I am not sure that ordering by App is much easier than getting up and going to the bar.

I have seen people having trouble downloading the relevant App to their phone, and then having trouble getting the App to work once they have downloaded it.

By the time you have done all that faffing around, you could have ordered and paid for your pint the "old fashioned" way, and be sat down enjoying it.
 

nlogax

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I am not sure that ordering by App is much easier than getting up and going to the bar.

I have seen people having trouble downloading the relevant App to their phone, and then having trouble getting the App to work once they have downloaded it.

By the time you have done all that faffing around, you could have ordered and paid for your pint the "old fashioned" way, and be sat down enjoying it.

Ordering by app certainly seems quicker and less faffy than ordering at the bar in some of my regular haunts when the bar was rammed back in pre-pandemic times. It's a soulless and disconnected experience though, not the way being in a pub should be.
 

MikeWM

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I am not sure that ordering by App is much easier than getting up and going to the bar.

I have seen people having trouble downloading the relevant App to their phone, and then having trouble getting the App to work once they have downloaded it.

By the time you have done all that faffing around, you could have ordered and paid for your pint the "old fashioned" way, and be sat down enjoying it.

Indeed. It assumes at least 7 things:

1. You have a smartphone
2. You have a smartphone that actually will run the app
3. You don't pay for phone data and/or the pub wifi is working (or you're happy paying actual money on eg. a PAYG plan)
4. You have the space for the app on your phone
5. Your phone is sufficiently charged
6. You're happy putting random apps on your phone, without knowing anything about their features or security
7. You don't have a disability that means you can't use a smartphone, or only use one with difficulty

I don't satisfy at least 3 of those.
 

52290

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23 Oct 2015
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Ordering by app certainly seems quicker and less faffy than ordering at the bar in some of my regular haunts when the bar was rammed back in pre-pandemic times. It's a soulless and disconnected experience though, not the way being in a pub should be.
One problem up here in the north, ordering by app and sitting in a beer garden,is that you can't ask them to top it up when you get the inevitable short measure. If you did ask you probably would have to wait half an hour for them to bring it back. At the bar they will often top it up without you asking.
 

DelayRepay

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Ordering by app certainly seems quicker and less faffy than ordering at the bar in some of my regular haunts when the bar was rammed back in pre-pandemic times. It's a soulless and disconnected experience though, not the way being in a pub should be.
I agree - I'd like to have the choice. Sometimes I enjoy table service but other times it's easier to go to the bar.

Don't want to continue with mandatory table service but I hope some places still give us the option inn future.
 

kristiang85

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I am not sure that ordering by App is much easier than getting up and going to the bar.

I have seen people having trouble downloading the relevant App to their phone, and then having trouble getting the App to work once they have downloaded it.

By the time you have done all that faffing around, you could have ordered and paid for your pint the "old fashioned" way, and be sat down enjoying it.

Most certainly it isn't. Given the lack of a universal app for all pubs to use, whenever I go to a new one it seems to take me about 5-10 minutes to set the damn thing up for ordering (and I'm pretty tech savvy!), especially now that they need to speak to my bank's app to link my card, which takes a lot of fiddling too (and waiting for confirmation numbers in text messages, which was really slow the other week). Walking up to a bar and swiping a contactless takes seconds.

I really hope this is something that is quickly binned after June 21st (or just left as an option for those who really don't want to go to the bar, as Spoons pioneered). Indeed, part of the pleasure of going to the pub is the small talk with the landlord/bar staff as they are getting your order for you. Just an example of the small day-to-day casual contact I miss.
 

yorksrob

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The best pubs just have attentive waiter service, rather than a lot of technological hocus pocus.
 

Mag_seven

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Ordering on the Spoons app is a pain as you can't customise your order e.g. substituting beans for an extra egg or whatever.

Indeed, part of the pleasure of going to the pub is the small talk with the landlord/bar staff as they are getting your order for you.

Agreed - also you might want to ask the landlord what ales he recommends etc. We seem to be allowing this virus to eliminate all forms of human interaction and replace it with a box.
 

telstarbox

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The Spoons app makes sense if you're likely to visit them in different towns. It is handy if you don't want to risk losing a table! But having 10 separate apps for Greene King, Fuller's etc is sub optimal :)
 

Jamiescott1

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22 Feb 2019
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The pub I've been using (as it has a large covered heated terrace) offers 2 hour booking slots but the service (order and pay via app) is so slow. Sunday it took 20 minutes from time of ordering until receiving drinks.
In 4 visits we've never recieved our drinks quicker than 15 minutes after ordering.
Really annoying when you only have 2 hours. Pity as a good terrace, interesting drinks and a dj in the garden. Am going to try somewhere else this weekend.

One of thing about app ordering is the difficulty to personalise something. Even something as simple as that if drinking wine I also like a glass of tap water too, which is not an option on any app I've used
 

initiation

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In view of the weather forecast over the next week or so several pubs near me (including a very popular village one) have announced they are closing until the 17th when they can reopen indoors.

Must be thousands in beer, food, staff wages etc... being spent.
 

LancasterRed

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21 May 2018
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Downloading and using mobile apps really isn't that hard, but I do agree with the lack of customisability on some food ordering apps.

The switch to digital ordering is welcome for the pub experience but only if the option is there to speak to staff at the bar. A now diagnosed issue with the McDonald's app prevented my use of it at one point which could certainly replicate on any pub app.

My experiences in hospitality have all still been on the whole excellent, and I hope this level of service is maintained.
 

david1212

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Indeed. It assumes at least 7 things:

1. You have a smartphone
2. You have a smartphone that actually will run the app
3. You don't pay for phone data and/or the pub wifi is working (or you're happy paying actual money on eg. a PAYG plan)
4. You have the space for the app on your phone
5. Your phone is sufficiently charged
6. You're happy putting random apps on your phone, without knowing anything about their features or security
7. You don't have a disability that means you can't use a smartphone, or only use one with difficulty

I don't satisfy at least 3 of those.

I do not satisfy one of these outright ( 3 + with some just connection to pub wi-fi is hassle - worst is needing email verification but need wifi to use phone browser to access email ... )
Two are a major issue ( 6 ) ( 7 - difficulty with sight on a phone screen plus need to change glasses plus doing this outdoors )
Three more could be ( 2 - older version of Android ) ( 4 ) ( 5 - wifi runs down phone battery quickly )
Hence just one satisfied ( 1 )

If from at the latest 21st June there is not the old normal of sit inside or outside as you choose, have a printed or chalk board menu then either order at the bar or table service it will be a major factor in decisions about full days out and a UK holiday.
 
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Dai Corner

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I do not satisfy one of these outright ( 3 + with some just connection to pub wi-fi is hassle - worst is needing email verification but need wifi to use phone browser to access email ... )
Two are a major issue ( 6 ) ( 7 - difficulty with sight on a phone screen plus need to change glasses plus doing this outdoors )
Three more could be ( 2 - older version of Android ) ( 4 ) ( 5 - wifi runs down phone battery quickly )
Hence just one satisfied ( 1 )

If from at the latest 21st June there is not the old normal of sit inside or outside as you choose, have a printed or chalk board menu then either order at the bar or table service it will be a major factor in decisions about full days out and a UK holiday.
I haven't come across an establishment where online ordering is compulsory. Staff will always come over and take it verbally, and even accept payment in cash!
 

dk1

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I’m getting a little fed up with being cold or wrapping up but will persevere as it’s so good to be back eating & drinking out. Will be so good not to have to flag the busy Wetherspoon staff down just to get a coffee refill & be able to just go get it myself. It’s been an experience though these last few weeks.
 

takno

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I haven't come across an establishment where online ordering is compulsory. Staff will always come over and take it verbally, and even accept payment in cash!
I've been to a couple last summer where they wouldn't accept orders or even payment except through the app. I think possibly most of them weren't accepting cash. Might be different in different regions
 

185143

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I find that I'll tend to, in order to be fair to the staff you understand:smile:, order 2 pints at a time so they don't have to keep coming in and out all the time.
 

dk1

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I find that I'll tend to, in order to be fair to the staff you understand:smile:, order 2 pints at a time so they don't have to keep coming in and out all the time.
Free coffee/tea refills is such a pain for the poor staff at Spoons when busy.
 

NorthOxonian

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Free coffee/tea refills is such a pain for the poor staff at Spoons when busy.
When I visited Dumfries a couple of weeks back they were allowing customers to do the refills themselves, though being in Scotland, their Spoons is open inside for non alcoholic drinks. There was someone behind the bar who would give you a clean cup if you wanted one.
 

dk1

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When I visited Dumfries a couple of weeks back they were allowing customers to do the refills themselves, though being in Scotland, their Spoons is open inside for non alcoholic drinks. There was someone behind the bar who would give you a clean cup if you wanted one.
Yes must have been a Scottish thing. Going inside for anything other than toilets is strictly forbidden here.
 

WelshBluebird

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Going inside for anything other than toilets is strictly forbidden here.
Not strictly true. Obviously you are allowed to go inside if you need to in order to access the outdoor space, and you are allowed to go inside to pay if that is needed too.
But yeah, the rules wouldn't allow you to go and use the coffee machine.
Only for the next week mind you (though the indoor rules are still table service only so I suspect you still wouldn't be able to use the machine yourself).
 

dk1

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Not strictly true. Obviously you are allowed to go inside if you need to in order to access the outdoor space, and you are allowed to go inside to pay if that is needed too.
But yeah, the rules wouldn't allow you to go and use the coffee machine.
Only for the next week mind you (though the indoor rules are still table service only so I suspect you still wouldn't be able to use the machine yourself).
All the Spoons I have been too have done all payments for those few not using the app outside whether it be cash or card. Coffe machines could be used previously but customers MUST request a clean cup for refills although that wasn’t strictly adhered to as you might expect.
 

davetheguard

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But having 10 separate apps for Greene King, Fuller's etc is sub optimal

Other breweries are available! Hundreds & hundreds in the UK many of which will own a pub or two- are we going to have an individual app for all of them?
 

yorksrob

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I went to a pub owned by the excellent Lancaster Brewery recently which had a simple push button system on the table to attract the attention of the staff. They were able to provide details of their ales when required and allowed payment by cash or card without the need for apps.
 

WelshBluebird

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All the Spoons I have been too have done all payments for those few not using the app outside whether it be cash or card.
Yeah I think the rules are that you can only do payment inside if you can't outside (e.g. for places where card machine networks or the mobile signal they use may not reach outside etc) so it makes sense places would prefer to do it outside (its easier to have just the one rule too - I'm sure in some places once people start to see some going inside others will try to follow and it would become a pain for staff!).
I went to a pub owned by the excellent Lancaster Brewery recently which had a simple push button system on the table to attract the attention of the staff. They were able to provide details of their ales when required and allowed payment by cash or card without the need for apps.
That sounds like the kind of thing that would be great in theory but in practice could end up with drunk idiots annoying staff with it!
Maybe I am just too cynical haha (though partly with good reason - it took less than a week or two of reopening last summer for staff to be assaulted in the Spoons my partner works at).
 

yorksrob

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That sounds like the kind of thing that would be great in theory but in practice could end up with drunk idiots annoying staff with it!
Maybe I am just too cynical haha (though partly with good reason - it took less than a week or two of reopening last summer for staff to be assaulted in the Spoons my partner works at).

To be fair, this beer garden was relatively compact, and there was always a member of the staffing team on hand to keep an eye on things anyway and stop any rowdies getting out of hand.

They would have done perfectly well with or without the push button system.
 

johnnychips

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Gosh it’s so nice to go back to my local, which hasn’t got a garden, get greeted by name and see all my old acquaintances! Blimey, that has been since November 4th!

Edit: this is the ‘Tut and Shive’ within two minutes walk from Doncaster station and is recommended if you have to change trains. (This is so much more accessible from the front of Donny station since the car park has been removed - excellent landscaping - and a pelican crossing installed). It is a Greene King pub, and the barmaid recommended you book on the app to make sure of a seat.

Also, the Draughtsman on Doncaster station platform 3 looks like it has reopened, though I couldn’t really tell, and the Mallard in the shopping centre with a bad view of platform 1 certainly has. The Leopard nearby has as well but I’m not sure about the Railway, just because I didn’t investigate.

So here’s a reassuring message to rail fans: come to Donny, you can get a beer.
 
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