How was the "new normal" pub/cafe experience for you?

Scotrail12

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16 Nov 2014
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Not really an actual cafe but went to the St. Enoch centre food court today, what a miserable place. Taking details regardless of whether or not you're sitting in, staff at McDonald's using machines for you, staff using visors and masks, card machine not working, not enough seats and aggressive one way system - saw some people getting shouted at by staff for sneaking out another way.

Won't be back in a hurry. My experience a few hour later at the Quay Odeon was much nicer.
 
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birchesgreen

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16 Jun 2020
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My second post-lockdown sit-down visit to my favourite local big chain cafe, first time they asked for my details (though wrote the number down wrong), today they didn't ask for / record any details at all.
 

Busaholic

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Had my first coffee out for over four months yesterday afternoon, which, as a caffeine addict, was a long time cold turkey. It was at local M&S, whose food section I used to visit weekly up until end of March. Huge culling of tables, but the place was virtually empty anyway. You can no longer help yourself to a slice from the whole cakes on offer, which is no surprise, but I was pleased to see that prices were lower because of the VAT decrease. Mind you, prices in the food hall were, in some cases, much higher than four months ago, and the 'money off on next visit' coupons much less generous too.

Went downstairs to exit store, and realised I'd left my face visor on the table so had to go back up - still on table, with my detritus, and both other previously occupied tables vacated.
 
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AdamWW

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Should pubs pass on the vat decrease or legally they can keep prices the same and therefore make more profit?
Pubs can charge whatever they like so if they want to put the ex-VAT price up so the total price remains the same they can.

Given the financial impact on them of the current situation, I wouldn't think that was unreasonable.
 

takno

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Should pubs pass on the vat decrease or legally they can keep prices the same and therefore make more profit?
Legally they can charge what they want. The aim of the VAT decrease was to help the sector to recover. Whether do that by tempting more customers in with lower prices, or take the extra profit to help cover their losses is really up to them.

It's really no more of a fairness issue than some pubs charging a fiver and some a tenner for the same food.
 

Richard Scott

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Legally they can charge what they want. The aim of the VAT decrease was to help the sector to recover. Whether do that by tempting more customers in with lower prices, or take the extra profit to help cover their losses is really up to them.

It's really no more of a fairness issue than some pubs charging a fiver and some a tenner for the same food.
Only been to two but both seemed to be charging normal prices, which I was more than happy to pay seeing as they've been unable to trade for months. Good luck to them, both were full.
 

route101

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Not really an actual cafe but went to the St. Enoch centre food court today, what a miserable place. Taking details regardless of whether or not you're sitting in, staff at McDonald's using machines for you, staff using visors and masks, card machine not working, not enough seats and aggressive one way system - saw some people getting shouted at by staff for sneaking out another way.

Won't be back in a hurry. My experience a few hour later at the Quay Odeon was much nicer.
Has the Burger King opened up yet at St Enochs?
 

Bletchleyite

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Should pubs pass on the vat decrease or legally they can keep prices the same and therefore make more profit?
This will depend on how profitable they were and how close to the bone they were, and people really shouldn't be getting uptight about it not being passed on. I overheard this explained to someone in a franchised Costa today - they weren't passing it on because they were within days of administration and so need the extra money to stabilise their business.

For something like Costa this makes sense, as if you'll pay £2.80 for a fancy coffee (as I think mine was) reducing it to say £2.60 is hardly going to influence your decision.
 

trebor79

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This will depend on how profitable they were and how close to the bone they were, and people really shouldn't be getting uptight about it not being passed on. I overheard this explained to someone in a franchised Costa today - they weren't passing it on because they were within days of administration and so need the extra money to stabilise their business.

For something like Costa this makes sense, as if you'll pay £2.80 for a fancy coffee (as I think mine was) reducing it to say £2.60 is hardly going to influence your decision.
Indeed. And in any case the chancellor has already given punters a bonus with the Eat out to Help Out scheme. It's obvious the VAT reduction is intended to help businesses rather than consumers.
 

45107

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3 May 2014
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And of course there is no reduction in duty/VAT for the things that most people go to a pub for - an alcoholic drink.
 

WelshBluebird

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As already said, the VAT reduction doesn't apply to alcoholic drinks, which kind of makes it harder for pubs to drop prices!
Even for places who do some food (and obviously soft drinks) which they can reduce prices for, given the additional costs of being open at the moment, they may decide not to bother.

In terms of pubs myself, I have been to 7 in total over the last 4 weeks. All have asked for contact details (5 of them via scanning a QR code and filling out a web form, 2 of them by texting a number - with 5 out of those 7 requiring it, one barely paying lip services to it by having a couple of bits of A4 paper on the walls, and one being somewhere in the middle - they had signs throughout the place including QR codes on the tables, but it wasn't enforced. The whole contact details stuff doesn't bother me since it really isn't much of an effort at all, and as we have seen in the media, there have been cases where contacting those present has been needed. In general I didn't have any issues with any of the pubs - except maybe the reliance on table service means that for those pubs without apps, you are reliant on staff being attentive to when you want another drink (of which two pubs were very good at, and one was pretty poor at - the other 4 places had apps). Has been nice to see some friends and generally get out - and all of the places I went to seem to be being sensible with how many people they allow in and distancing inside. Was certainly wary after seeing how lax some places are being, but glad that wasn't the case where I've visited.
 
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I had an excellent lunch for just £4.47 today. All the cafes and restaurants locally were busy. Don't forget your morning coffee is now half-price too!
 

johntea

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Not quite sure how they worked it out but I bought a Empire State burger at Spoons with a double JD and coke (well, Pepsi!)

That came to £7.89 in all but subsequently I had a few more of the same drink at £6.60 a pop!

So somehow 2000+ calories cost £1.29...
 

Butts

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But remember the whole nation is supposed to be going on a diet and losing weight! :lol:
I'm going to the Beefeater in Dundee next week (table booked) with my Daughter and her friend.

They are doing 50% off everything so three calorific courses (including a Fillet Steak for under a tenner) will be the order of the Day.
 

43066

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They are doing 50% off everything so three calorific courses (including a Fillet Steak for under a tenner) will be the order of the Day.
A fillet steak, for under a tenner, is not a fillet steak you should ever entertain.

It will be epically, epically grim. Mark my words.
 

Butts

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A fillet steak, for under a tenner, is not a fillet steak you should ever entertain.

It will be epically, epically grim. Mark my words.

If there is any problem with it I will send it back !!

No one is suggesting Beefeater represents Gourmet Dining but at 50% off that inconvenience can be overlooked in a Mid-Range Chain Establishment.
 

yorkie

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A group of us went for a curry in Crewe today (we were going to an Italian restaurant but that was too full); we got there very early at 5pm and by the time we left (7pm) it was the busiest I've seen a restaurant be for a long time.

All tables had plastic screens between them; this was not intrusive at all and if anything it helped as it made it easier to hear people at our table.

It did take a while to get the bill at the end as they were so busy, but we still made our intended train towards Manchester (barely 1 coach worth of passengers in 11 coaches, but that's another story!)
 
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43066

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A group of us went for a curry in Crewe today (we were going to an Italian restaurant but that was too full); we got there very early at 5pm and it was the busiest I've seen a restaurant be for a long time. All tables had plastic screens between them; this was not intrusive at all and if anything it helped as it made it easier to hear people at our table.

It did take a while to get the bill at the end as they were so busy, but we still made the train towards Manchester (barely 1 coach worth of passengers in 11 coaches, but that's another story!)
I bet you guys can’t wait until you meet me.
 

talldave

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Another visit to Costa today. Standing up mask wearing almost non-existent, maybe 1 in 10. But everyone sticking to a good 2m distancing. That feels so much better than people getting up close & personal just because they have a damp rag over their nose.
 

4141

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21 Dec 2015
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Two visits so far, no problems with either. First a social club, members only - no problem with spacing, and the opaque screens between tables were worth putting up with for the steward's cheery banter and a couple of pints of Janet's Jungle Juice (strong cider for the uninitiated...)

Yesterday was a local pub for lunch, one way system in place so in the front door, out the back door; no screens but plenty of space, buy at the bar but a screen in place there; great steak and a couple of pints of Tribute, Eat Out scheme in operation and so excellent all round.
 

northernchris

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Another visit to Costa today. Standing up mask wearing almost non-existent, maybe 1 in 10. But everyone sticking to a good 2m distancing. That feels so much better than people getting up close & personal just because they have a damp rag over their nose.
I tried Costa this morning for the first time in months, and have to say it was the best experience so far. The store previously had an unofficial one way system around the till anyway, and every other table was blocked off so there was more than 2m between people but there were no floor markings taking you on a tour of the store and the registration details was a quick scan of the QR code which was placed on each table. I felt a bit silly when it only cost £1.42 - but gives an excuse to get a cake as well next time!
 

Saint66

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15 Dec 2013
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I have been to around 6 or 7 pubs now since re-opening, including a lovely one in West Yorkshire, and I must say I am enjoying the 'new normal' experience. I'm relatively young so have spent a lot of time in packed pubs at weekends and do miss that a bit, but the relaxed atmosphere I have experienced at most establishments is brilliant.

I dont miss queuing at the bar and battling for space. I'm very lucky that I have a smart phone that allows me to use websites or apps to place orders, and this combined with table service just makes everything so easy (for myself at least).

Weather permitting, we've also spent more time in pub gardens than we normally would and have made the most of pubs putting more seating in outside areas. I certainly do not have an issue if pubs have to continue as they are for a while yet.
 

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