Today I met some family for lunch at The Pheasant Inn, Shefford Woodlands, near Hungerford, RG17. Well, I tried to.
I had booked ahead and explained we were four adults, two children and a baby but when we arrived we were shown two small tables which they then begrudgingly pushed together. As I tried to get the children into their seats the waitress stood over us saying "drinks, drinks, what do you want to drink" and stalked off in a huff when I asked if we could have five minutes to get ourselves sitting down.
The real trouble started when we tried to order. Two of the party apologetically explained that they were allergic to dairy and wheat and asked if the fish for fish and chips was pre-battered, could the chef just fry it plain. The waitress stared at them rudely, went to the kitchen and returned saying the chef would not do that. When they asked for other dishes to be served with chips rather than things they could not eat they were told it was not possible. A more senior waitress said extremely curtly that the chef would not do anything different. We replied that if we couldn't eat anything we'd have to leave.
"Fine," she said and turned and walked off.
We were gobsmacked by their complete inflexibility and rudeness. Allergies are annoying, yes, but not unusual. There was no apology and no consideration for the fact we'd set three very young children up at a table and now had to go back out into the freezing rain.
No business which treats its customers like this deserves to survive so if you are reading this blog having searched the name of the pub to make a booking, please GO ELSEWHERE!