A seaside Cornwall restaurant has become the latest dining establishment to drop the Government’s ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme – to protect its staff from abuse.
Employees at Summer House, which overlooks Perranporth‘s famous beach, have been overwhelmed by customers wanting to make the most of the discount on offer.
The restaurant can only do 35 covers at a time, meaning customers have been queuing down the steps in the hope of getting a table.
Summer House opened in 2018, becoming the latest project by the Job family, which also owns the Alcatraz bistro below and the Watering Hole beach bar.
The restaurant announced that it was pulling out of the scheme – which sees the Government pay for half the price of meals up to £10 per person Mondays to Wednesdays during August – on Tuesday in a post on Facebook.
“We have decided to withdraw from the ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme, this is to look after the wellbeing of our staff and maintain a relaxed, enjoyable vibe in our restaurant,” the post said.
“Our team are working very hard, we are proud of each individual and everything they bring to the Summer House. They deserve to be spoken to politely and treated with respect. Not to receive the abuse and challenges that some have had to deal with recently.
“We thank you all for your understanding in these unusual times.
“Please get in touch if you wish to cancel a booking on Monday to Wednesday as we are no longer offering the scheme from Monday 24.”
Summer House director Tommy Job told Cornwall Live that the demand has become too much for the staff.
“At the Summer House we are booked for the whole of August and September and we can only do 35 covers at a time. We can’t operate as normal, so we can’t get the customers in,” he said.
“People are queuing down the steps and the extra demand with the scheme has added extra stress on our staff, so we are trying to get rid of that demand, basically. August is full-on as it is.
“Some customers have been a bit unfriendly sometimes, that’s hospitality and that sort of thing happens.”
The Watering Hole, on the other hand, with dozens of benches outside on the sand, has the capacity to cope with the influx of tourists to Cornwall this summer.
“The Watering Hole is great for it because it is so big, there are loads of places to sit,” Mr Job added. “There is no limit on covers, and there isn’t a set area to eat in, people can sit anywhere outside or take their food away. But at Summer House they have got to be sat down for dining service.”
It follows similar moves by other eateries in Cornwall. Last week The Heron Inn at Malpas, near Truro, dropped out of the Government scheme due to concerns about safely seating the increased amount of people the offer has attracted. Its owners said it had become the victim of “unpleasant comments and general unwelcome behaviour” from some people who have been unable to get a table. Read the full story here.
The Tavern Inn at Newquay also left the discount scheme.
And this week Thai streetfood cafe Soi 21 in Truro hit out at the Government after it was told it could not be dropped from its list of participating eateries. It was left having to deal with “bad will” from some customers when they realise the pop-up café in the city’s Vertigo bar isn’t part of the government deal. Read that full story here.
Like so many other restaurants in Cornwall, Mr Job would have preferred the scheme to run during the winter months.
“I’m not complaining that they’ve done it, and good on them for trying to help. It’s more for people in the Midlands that are struggling,” he said. “It would have been nice in November or January when it’s basically just me and a couple of mates here.”
Overall, business is booming for the Job family.
“It’s been pretty full on since we reopened down at Perran,” Mr Job added. “Business is good and we’re really happy about that, and it does feel like it’s back to normal, or as good as normal.”