Restaurants and pubs pull out of Eat Out To Help Out as rude diners abuse staff

Restaurants are pulling out of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme as abusive diners cause "nothing but grief" for hardworking staff.

Pubs and eateries across the UK are stepping back from the scheme which was designed to get hungry punters back spending on the high street.

But disgruntled staff have faced weeks of abuse from greedy customers taking advantage of the midweek money-saving deal.

The scheme set out by Chancellor Rishi Sunak allows restaurants to charge customers half-price – up to a tenner – Monday to Wednesday.

The Government then pays the restaurant back in a bid to Britain spending and the UK’s economy moving.

But fuming owners say the surge in demand on hardworking staff has lead to rude customers shouting at workers, The Sun reports.

Kelly Hill, who owns the Tavern Inn in Newquay, told the BBC: "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."

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The scheme has so far cost the Government £180million – but its popularity appears to be a double-edged sword for the hospitality sector.

At the Paddock Inn in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, customers have shown "extreme levels of rudeness" and caused "nothing by grief".

Initially joining as a perk for customers, social distancing measures have left one chef in the kitchen and meals are taking longer as a result.

In a statement, 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.

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"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."

And in Crantock near Newquay, the C-Bay bistro says the scheme has led to a loss of business because people are only showing up Monday to Wednesday.

Owner Nina Eyles said: "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.

"If it was in winter we would be so grateful and it would have been amazing."

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There have been 48,000 claims from 85,000 restaurants so far and the scheme is still running for another week.

But hospitality staff have spoken out on social media about the sick abuse they have had from clientele.

One person said: "Whoever came up with this f******* eat out to help out scheme has clearly never worked in a restaurant."

Another wrote: "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."

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The Heron Inn in Truro is another on the list of eateries abandoning Eat Out To Help Out.

It said on Facebook: "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.

"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."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said of the scheme: "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."

Dozens of high street chains such as Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Nando’s are signed up to the promotion.

The discount means a meal out for one that usually costs £20 will cost £10, with the government stumping up the restaurant's lost tenner.

Customers only get the discount if they eat out at a registered business – with takeaway not being covered by the promotion.

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