Family forced to have beans on toast for Christmas dinner after 90-minute wait to be served at pub sparks walk-out

Family forced to have beans on toast for Christmas dinner after 90-minute wait to be served at pub sparks walk-out

January 4, 2019

More than 70 people were booked in for a £40 festive three-course meal at The Birches Head in Stoke on Trent but only a small proportion of diners were actually fed with many others simply walking out.

Kathryn Fairbanks, 46, was one of a family group of 11 people who had booked a table.

She claimed that while they had arrived early for their 2.30pm booking by 3pm no one had approached their table.

Kathryn said: “We could hear other tables saying that they were waiting to be served, one had been booked in at 1pm and had only had their starter, and it was 3pm.

"My sister-in-law went to see what was happening and we were told it would be at least 4pm before we would be served.

"There was only one waitress working, and she said it was her first day. It was a complete shambles.”

Her party eventually walked out without being fed.

Their £10 deposits have been refunded.

She added: “We had one relative in his 90s and another in her 80s. Not only did we have no Christmas dinner but it was supposed to be a time of getting together as a family, making memories. Unfortunately time is not something you can get back.

“It was the first time we had been out somewhere for Christmas dinner and we'll never do it again.”

Another member of Kathryn’s party was her sister-in-law Janette Shankland, 66, who made the reservation in August.

She told the Stoke Sentinel: “It was a complete nightmare. We ended up having beans on toast when we got home.

“I was so upset because I wanted it to be nice for my elderly father-in-law and auntie. They both live on their own and they were really looking forward to it.

“They must have known they were going to struggle to serve the people who were booked in. Why didn’t they phone us beforehand, so we could have arranged something else?”


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Current pub manager Annette Townley said the problem was caused by overbooking by the previous tenants as well as some people turning up late.

Annette said: “There were 72 people booked in. I thought, in October people wouldn’t be able to book anywhere else, so I thought I would just try to do it. I did try to phone some people but the numbers in the book weren’t right.

“On Christmas Day we were ready to go at midday, but the first two parties were late. The knock-on effect of that was phenomenal. I was trying my hardest to catch up. There was nothing I could do.”

She added she did approach the people at the venue to apologise and said the waitress did also tell people.

Annette added: “I can’t apologise enough to people.”

She declined to comment further when approached by The Sun Online.

The Sun Online has approached the tenants of the pub, Inglenook Inns for comment.



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