According to reviews, furious guests who had booked in for their festive meals at The Miller Arms, near Poulton-le-Flyde, Lancashire, waited hours for their food and were forced to stand outside
Image: Miller Arms)
A pub in Lancashire has passionately defended itself after customers slammed its Christmas Day dinner service as a ‘shambles’ and ‘disgrace’.
According to a number of TripAdvisor reviews, furious guests who had booked in for their festive meals at The Miller Arms in Singleton, near Poulton-le-Flyde, Lancashire, waited hours for their food, were forced to stand outside because the bar area was too full to fit them in and some left without eating at all.
And while the pub’s director, who did not wish to be named for fear of personal attacks, accepts the day for 400 people went “spectacularly wrong”, he claims many issues were “out of their control”.
He also claimed that the pub lost £10,000 in a single day because of the mistakes, LancsLive reported.
Among the reviews on TripAdvisor, Nomad04332103889 wrote that the atmosphere was “awful” and they were “ignored by staff”, adding that they left after an hour of waiting to be seated.
As timbE8720OG said booking in at the pub was a “major mistake” and they will “never go again”, while Q1416UQmichellel said it was “a scene of absolute chaos, a shambles.”
This reviewer also accused management of “greed” for overbooking which caused “a lot of people great distress on what should be a magical day”.
However, one reviewer, Z5979LY, appeared empathetic to the staff after “seeing two waitresses crying” and added some customers were “unnecessarily rude to staff” who were “working on Christmas Day and not spending it with their families”.
They concluded the restaurant “bit off more than it could chew” by operating a banquet-style service, which did not allow for any flexibility or delays.
And asked by LancsLive for a response, the pub’s director claimed customers turning up late, making changes to their pre-orders on the day and four staff members testing positive for coronavirus on Christmas Eve all contributed in delays to service.
“We were in between a rock and a hard place,” the The Miller Arms manager said after finding out a number of his waiting staff would not be able to work.
He added: “I had to choose to either ring round people late on Christmas Eve and tell them their Christmas Day meal was cancelled, knowing they would not have any other food in, or try to do the best we could, short staffed.
“We were there until 2am on Christmas Eve and were back in at 7am and I had given my staff extra training to prepare for the day.
“But we couldn’t plan ahead for people turning up over an hour late for the 12.15pm sitting, which then had a knock-on effect to the 2.15pm sitting. It wasn’t fair.
“People were just turning up when they felt like it and serving a banquet scenario people need to come in staggered and at the allocated time we asked them to.”
The venue is located in the village of Singleton, which does not have broadband internet and limited bandwidth and it became so slow, staff were unable to use the tills to process payment or send information to the kitchen and were forced to take all drinks orders by hand, which also caused significant disruption.
“We are sincerely sorry for ruining people’s Christmas and we refunded everyone who decided to leave and didn’t take any payments for some people who had eaten three of their four courses and also didn’t charge for their drinks tab,” the director added .
“Also, there are no current [social distancing] Covid restrictions in hospitality, so it was the customer’s choice to bring their elderly relative to a packed pub on Christmas Day, it’s unfair to blame that on us.
“We lost around £10k in a single day and I still paid my staff double time and bonuses.
“If we had known Covid would still be rife when we opened pre-bookings in July, we would not have opened, we wouldn’t have risked it.”