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‘A lot of people were a bit unreasonable’ - Reflections on Eat Out to Help Out

PUBLISHED: 09:37 02 September 2020 | UPDATED: 09:37 02 September 2020

Andrew Felton, owner of Drifter's Fish and Chips said some of the customers made the scheme difficult. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Andrew Felton, owner of Drifter's Fish and Chips said some of the customers made the scheme difficult. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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Restaurant and pub managers fear the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ boom in trade might not help them in the long run.

Sally McGrath, General manager of The Gallow sports centre in Fakenham said the experience was exhausting as they coped with the influx of customers. Picture: Aaron McMillanSally McGrath, General manager of The Gallow sports centre in Fakenham said the experience was exhausting as they coped with the influx of customers. Picture: Aaron McMillan

Sally McGrath, manager of the Gallow in Fakenham, said the experience was “exhausting”, but “incredibly beneficial” as they coped with the influx of customers.

She said: “The only trouble is the false sense of security.

“You have a lot of people coming out to eat. But, now it is over, will they come back?”

The scheme aimed to entice people back into pubs and restaurants saw the government cover 50pc of meals, up to £10 per person, on Mondays to Wednesdays in August.

Musa Ali, manager of Ranis Indian Dining said that around 90pc of his customers were new faces.Picture: Supplied by Musa Ali.Musa Ali, manager of Ranis Indian Dining said that around 90pc of his customers were new faces.Picture: Supplied by Musa Ali.

Some eateries are planning to extend the deal out of their own budgets rather than through government support, but Mrs McGrath said that was not an option for the Gallow.

“We cannot afford to run it into September,” she said.

“We are not that type of business, we are not a Wetherspoons, and that’s a fact of life.”

Andrew Felton, manager of Drifters fish and chips in Oak Street, Fakenham, said not everybody had reacted well to the scheme.

Musa Ali said they hope to pull people back with more discounts, but its not going to be the 50pc Picture: Supplied by Musa Ali.Musa Ali said they hope to pull people back with more discounts, but its not going to be the 50pc Picture: Supplied by Musa Ali.

Mr Felton said: “A lot of people were a bit unreasonable.

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“When you are that busy there is always going to be a wait time. It’s more bad than good.”

“When you are inundated we couldn’t give the service we could normally do.”

The landlady of The Swan Inn, Carole Dearden said the atmosphere was okay in the pub, sometimes it was a little hostile. Picture: Google MapsThe landlady of The Swan Inn, Carole Dearden said the atmosphere was okay in the pub, sometimes it was a little hostile. Picture: Google Maps

Musa Ali, manager of Ranis Indian Dining in Yaxham, near Dereham, said that around 90pc of his customers were new faces.

Mr Ali said: “We have made a lot of people happy. But there shouldn’t be anything to make them feel that they can’t come again.

“If they don’t come again it is going to be a real loss.”

Mr Ali said the restaurant hoped to pull people back with more discounts, but they could only go so far as he aimed to keep his staff employed.

Mr Ali said: “There will be no furloughing after October and I don’t want to lose my staff.

“They are like family.”

Carole Dearden, landlady of the Swan Inn in Dereham Road, Mattishall, said they also had a few issues with customers.

She said: “The atmosphere was okay in the pub.

“A lot of people were a bit hostile because they couldn’t get a table. But apart from that, it was okay.

“I wouldn’t do it again, because the staff had to take quite a lot on.”


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