‘Monumental’ - restaurants thank diners as tips soar after lockdown
Diners in Norfolk have shown their support for restaurants through their tips, with owners seeing record generosity from the public.
During the pandemic, people were urged to swap cash for card payments to minimise any risk of spreading the virus, potentially eliminating a main source of tips for waiting staff.
The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit sectors during the coronavirus outbreak, with fears over significant nationwide job losses.
While capacity remains lower than usual and the future is uncertain, restaurants in Norfolk say they have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the public, who have left significantly higher tips than average.
Ben Handley, chef patron of the Duck Inn at Stanhoe, said: “August this year was monumental in terms of tips, almost double the previous year.
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“The reaction from the team was great, they were even questioning if it could be right. They were delighted. We were overwhelmed with the generosity of our customers.”
He said it was a great reflection on his team, who worked hard to ensure service “at every level” was positive.
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His sentiment was echoed by Hannah Springham, who runs Farmyard in Norwich and The Dial House at Reepham, who said they had also been surprised by an increase, particularly at their Reepham eatery.
“We had time to pause and really look at what we were doing well and where we were going wrong,” she said. “I do believe we have never provided the current level of service and food at both sites.”
She said there was often a correlation between positive reviews and increased tips.
“We don’t really take cash, but people are putting it on their cards which is really good,” she said.
“At a time when we were wondering about hours we could give them it really helps the team. It might be because people in Norfolk are supporting their local places, and we all need their support.”
Both restaurants said the tips had come through card machines, and that all of those funds were given to staff.
Ms Springham said while it was welcome to see, particularly for staff, it did not mitigate the current lack of covers restaurants could offer, particularly as they faced rumours of a potential curfew amid further tightening of social distancing measures.