Diners using the Eat Out to Help Out scheme have been slammed as ‘rude’ by over-worked staff as the number of half-price meals sold under Rishi Sunak’s plan hits 35million.
Disgruntled staff working across the nations eateries have shared their frustration after being met by ‘rude’ customers eager to take advantage of the government scheme.
Under the scheme, which came into force earlier this month, restaurants charge customers half price – up to £10 per diner – on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and then claim the money back from the Government.
However the move has now seen a number of restaurant bosses pulling their venues out of the discount scheme – with some claiming the initiative was actually losing their business money.
It comes as the Government revealed it was set to pay out £180 million to cover the cost of the discounted meals so far.
Owner of the C-Bay Bistro in Crantock near Newquay, Nina Eyles, claims the scheme is actually losing her business
She says customers aren’t booking for the days the incentive isn’t running. Pictured: The C-Bay Bistro in Crantock, near Newquay
Landlady of the Westleigh Inn in Bideford, Devon, Steph Dyer, told the BBC they were pulling the plug on the scheme due to the ‘physical and mental stress’ being put on their staff
Q&A: When is Eat Out to Help Out on and do I need a voucher?
When is it available?
It runs every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from August 3 to 31.
What is it?
A 50 per cent discount when you eat in up to a maximum saving of £10 per diner. The business reclaims the value of the saving from government.
What establishments can take part?
Restaurants, cafés, bars or pubs; work and school canteens; food halls.
What are the restrictions?
No discount on alcoholic drinks or service charges.
Do I need a voucher?
No. The discount will be automatically applied by the participating outlet. The saving can be used alongside other offers and discounts.
How do I find participating outlets?
Treasury has set up a postcode finder that will list outlets offering a scheme within a two mile radius – here
What about chain restaurants?
Ninety businesses have registered to take part in the scheme, including McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC; burger chains such as GBK, Five Guys, Honest Burgers; coffee shops such as Costa, Starbucks, Pret a Manger, Caffe Nero; pub chains such as Wetherspoon, Fullers, Greene King, Mitchells & Butlers; restaurant chains such as Wagamama, Pizza Hut, Pizza Express, TGI Fridays, Côte Brasserie, Franco Manca.
Sharing their frustration, owners of the seaside restaurant the Paddock Inn near Tenby, Pembrokeshire, said revellers were advantage of the widely-popular scheme and had shown ‘extreme levels of rudeness’ and caused staff ‘nothing but grief’.
The Paddock Inn, in Penally, Wales said it joined on as a perk to customers as ‘the custom is already there’ for them anyway.
But as 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 have persevered in order to accommodate those looking to get a highly discounted meal, which has brought them nothing but grief.
‘The government’s scheme doesn’t really do much for us as the custom is already there but we decided to do it for you.
‘However, we are seriously considering pulling the plug on this due to the extreme levels of rudeness, lack of understanding, and complete impatience of some of our recent customers.’
‘If you are incapable of understanding this then go and get a table elsewhere.
‘You will likely find that there is also a wait there as this is natural when operating with less staff.
‘We are currently discussing amongst ourselves whether or not to continue with the scheme as it is simply not fair to expose our staff to the kind of behaviour that we have seen this week.’
As part of the scheme, restaurants charge customers half price – up to £10 per diner – on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays then claim the money back from the Government. The payment averages £5.14 per meal.
But her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs revealed the enormous cost of the scheme so far, just hours after the Treasury said it had received 48,000 claims from the 85,000 restaurants that have signed up.
Countless staff members up and down the country have now called on diners to make exceptions for busy restaurants and slower-than-normal service.
According to the BBC, The Tavern Inn in Newquay is another venue that has pulled out of the discount scheme.
Owner of the Tavern Inn in Newquay, Kelly Hill, said: ‘It [the Eat Out to Help Out scheme] has brought us nothing but negativity due to the huge demand, causing long waits on food, tables over-running and hostility towards our staff’
Pictured: The Tavern Inn in Newquay, where owner Kelly Hill says customers are ordering huge meals and being belligerent
Pictured: The Westleigh Inn in Bideford, Devon, where landlady Steph Dyer has u-turned on offering the Eat Out to Help Out government incentive to protect her employees from ‘physical and mental stress’
‘All this for a tenner!’ Food lovers share the incredible deals they’ve found on the first day of Rishi’s 50% off scheme including £2.29 for a Big Mac meal and £3.50 for a Tesco fry up
People across Britain bragged about their half-price meals amid a rapturous reception for the Government’s new Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
Diners shared photographs of meals at the likes of McDonald’s, Subway, Costa and Pret a Manger as they enjoyed a 50 per cent discount on food and soft drinks.
But many didn’t look that healthy, with one posting a photograph of three burgers, three portions of chips and three cans of Pepsi at a fast food outlet in Preston.
Others boasted about getting a Big Mac meal for £2.29, and a sausage, egg and cheese breakfast roll with a coffee and pack of crips for less than £2 at Subway.
Some had a discounted lunch after returning to the office for the first time in five months, while another wrote: ‘Doing my bit to boost the economy (and my BMI).’
More than 90 chains are among the 72,000 venues taking part in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s scheme, which is backed by £500million of taxpayers’ cash.
Diners who eat out on Mondays to Wednesdays in August will have half of their bill covered by the Government, up to £10 per head.
Owner Kelly Hill told the broadcaster: ‘It has brought us nothing but negativity due to the huge demand, causing long waits on food, tables over-running and hostility towards our staff.
‘People are ordering big, big meals; they are not willing to wait for their food; our staff are being shouted at for having no tables, or for the service being slow. It’s put an awful lot of strain on our waiting staff and kitchen staff.’
The Heron Inn in Truro is another restaurant to retract the offer, citing customers’ ‘unpleasant’ and ‘unwelcome behaviour’ on why they decided to call time on the scheme.
‘Safety is our main priority, and with the increased amount of people visiting us, it is making it difficult for us to manage with social distancing rules in place,’ the inn wrote on Facebook.
‘We have received unpleasant comments and general unwelcome behaviour from customers when they are unable to find a table due to us having reached capacity’.
Landlady of the Westleigh Inn in Bideford, Devon, Steph Dyer, told the BBC they were pulling the plug on the scheme due to the ‘physical and mental stress’ being put on their staff.
Owner of the C-Bay Bistro in Crantock near Newquay, Nina Eyles, claims the scheme is actually losing her business.
She says customers aren’t booking for the days the incentive isn’t running.
‘In July we were full every day, but now Mondays to Wednesdays are absolutely manic and we are much quieter than normal on the other days,’ she told the BBC.
‘If it was in winter we would be so grateful and it would have been amazing.’
Other restaurateurs and service staff took to social media to complain about working in a premises taking part in the government’s venture.
Michelle wrote on Twitter: ‘PSA: If you book a table for Eat Out to Help Out, please anticipate the place will be packed and the food will take a bit longer than usual.
‘I’m sick of customers being so rude over something I can’t control.’
Arlia Maitland added: ‘Can’t get my head around how this eat to help out scheme makes customers act to rude and entitled… You’re literally paying £10 for a meal f*** off.’
Former restaurant and cafe worker Grace Ward added: ‘If you are doing this ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ thing, and you’re self-righteous and rude towards staff, you’re an awful person and don’t deserve the ‘respect’ you demand.’
Restaurateurs took to Twitter to bemoan the manners of customers using Eat Out To Help Out scheme
How can a restaurant join the scheme?
Those who have already registered are good to go from today, but those who haven’t can still sign up until the end of the month.
The main requirement is that this is an ‘eat in’ scheme, so you must sell food to be eaten on site and you must have, or share, a dining area for customers.
It means popular takeaway chains such as Domino’s are not taking part, and you won’t get the discount at drive-thru branches of chains such as McDonald’s.
The size of the eat-in area is not given, so some places with only a couple of tables could offer the discount, but this would only be available to the customers sat at those tables.
You couldn’t get the discount if they were full and you needed to take your food away. Restaurant bosses need to keep the records for each day they have used the scheme, including the total number of diners and total amount of discount given.
They then make a claim seven days after the date of registration — August 7 at the earliest. HMRC then gives out a claim reference number and (all going to plan) the claim amount goes into the registered bank account in five days. Businesses will still need to pay VAT based on the full amount of the customer’s bill before the scheme discount is applied.
Jordan Dick added: ‘F*** the eat out to help out scheme to f***. I f****** hate working them. Hate hate HATE it. Just because your food is cheaper doesn’t mean you should order more you greedy f****.’
The Eat Out To Help Out scheme – which started on August 3 – saw some 24.5million dishes enjoyed by Britons in 85,000 participating restaurants in its second week.
This figure is nearly double the 10million who took advantage between August 3 and August 9.
‘To build back better we must protect as many jobs as possible, that is why I am urging all registered businesses to make the most of this by claiming back today – it’s free, simple and pays out within five working days.’
But concerned police in Leicester have been forced to use emergency powers to break up huge crowds eagerly waiting to take restaurants up on their offer.
Police will enforce a new Outdoor Public Place Direction banning people from unsafely queuing or congregating outside a string of food outlets on one road in the city – where lockdown measures have been reinforced amid a localised outbreak.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said of the numbers released today: ‘Today’s figures show that Britain is eating out to help out – with at least 35 million meals served up in the first two weeks alone, that is equivalent to over half of the UK taking part and supporting local jobs in the hospitality sector.
The order on London Road in Leicester – put in place from Monday – will be enforced by police and backed up by security stewards.
On its first night Leicester Police had to urge locals to stay away from the area, tweeting: ‘Please can the area of London Road (Leicester city centre) be avoided due to the large amount of people in the area that is causing the overcrowding.
‘In particular restaurants and takeaways unless you have a pre-booked time at a restaurant. Thank you for your assistance.’
Seaside restaurant the Paddock Inn (pictured) near Tenby, Pembrokeshire, says revellers taking advantage of the widely-popular scheme have shown ‘extreme levels of rudeness’ and caused staff ‘nothing but grief’
Countless staff members up and down the country have called on diners to make exceptions for busy restaurants and slower-than-normal service
The council had previously asked people using the offer not to turn up for meals more than 10 minutes before their pre-booked slots.
Individual Public Health Premises Directions are also being given to six busy food outlets in London Road.
It follows warning notices issued by officers from the council’s regulatory services team who witnessed problems with large groups of customers ignoring social distancing guidelines.
The businesses must now ensure they put in place strict systems to manage queues safely and only admit customers who have booked in advance.
Owners who fail to follow the new legislation will face fines ranging from £100 to £3,200 for repeat offences, and as a last resort could also be issued with a prohibition notice, effectively closing them down.
Councillor Piara Singh Clair said: ‘Social distancing measures are in place nationally as a key part of the fight to reduce Covid-19 infections, but we’ve seen problems with uncontrolled queueing outside a number of restaurants in London Road.
‘We are bringing in an Outdoor Public Place Direction to prevent people from turning up at restaurants without having booked, and then gathering or queuing without social distancing outside these businesses.
Concerned police in Leicester have been forced to use emergency powers to break up huge crowds eagerly waiting to take restaurants up on their offer. Pictured: People queuing for restaurants on London Road
‘We are working with food outlets to ensure they have correct procedures in place for people to enter and exit safely.
‘This includes proper queueing and booking systems, and informing customers not to arrive earlier than 10 minutes before their reservation.
‘We have already issued several restaurants with warning notices about their level of compliance with these measures, and while some improvements have been made, there is still work to be done.
‘Therefore issuing them with Individual Public Health Premises Directions will ensure they make the changes needed to comply with the legislation, which is there to protect the health and welfare of their customers and staff members alike.’
The order on London Road in Leicester (some queues on the road) – put in place from Monday – will be enforced by police and backed up by security stewards
Some 10million people took advantage of the scheme between August 3 and August 9. Pictured: A queue for a restaurant during the scheme
The temporary regulations will run for the rest of August, during the Eat Out To Help Out Scheme.
In June, Leicester became the first UK city to have lockdown restrictions reimposed, following an alarming rise in Covid-19 infections.
Conditions have been eased since, but residents are still banned from meeting people from different households in their homes and gardens, and gyms and wedding ceremonies remain off limits.
Around 8 per cent of the country’s workforce, or 2.4 million people, work in the hospitality, accommodation and attractions sector, which was badly hit during lockdown.
About 80 per cent of hospitality firms stopped trading in April, and 1.4 workers from the sector were furloughed.
Have you had to deal with rude customers since the start of the scheme? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Which chains and restaurant groups are registered for the Eat Out To Help Out scheme?
Bakers + Baristas
Bannatyne Health Club
Bar + Grills
Black Sheep Coffee
Boparan Restaurant Group
Company of Cooks
The Cornish Bakery
David Lloyd Clubs
Deep Blue Fish & Chips
Dobbies Garden Centres
Gourmet Burger Kitchen
Hall & Woodhouse
Joe & The Juice
Kew Green Hotels
Mitchells & Butlers
Morrisons – Cafe and Barista Bar
New World Trading Company
Pret A Manger
Revolution Bars Group
Selfridges & Co
Shepherd Neame Ltd
St Austell Brewery
The Ivy Collection
The National Trust