'We've seen top dogs who should be doing things that they're not'

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Last week, chef Pip Lacey's business partner and co-owner of hicce, Gordy McIntyre, came storming into the kitchen, furious about a TripAdvisor review alleging that their Covid-19 safety measures weren't up to scratch.

If the restaurant industry has learned anything since they were finally allowed to reopen on July 4th, it is that people love eating out. But they may also have learned that bad customer habits - like no-shows, and fake online reviews - die hard.

Having launched Hicce Market, a takeaway offering based outside, below the restaurant in Coal's Drop Yard, on June 17th before reopening the restaurant itself on July 4th, business has been booming - helped along the way by the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which has sent bookings through the roof. 

"All positive here," Pip said, "but a bit annoying when people are proper c***s saying things like they did at the weekend." 


Not only have they set themselves very high standards when it comes to safety and hygiene, she said, others have flouted the guidelines without consequences.

"We've seen top dogs - not naming names - who should be doing things that they're not."  

"We've done everything by the book," she added.

"I went to the chemists and I said: 'give me everything.' We spent a lot of money on products for the staff, getting it right because we didn't want s**t like that, and we don't want anybody to get ill, we just want to do things properly - and that's what we've always done."  

"We reiterate all the time - sanitise your hands after you've been here - and I've seen them do it, it's become like looking in your wing mirror." 

"It's almost become second nature now," she explained, which is why the review left her dubious.

Not one to bite back at TripAdvisor, when Gordy came into the kitchen, "he was saying: 'I don't believe it! Look at this!' and I thought: 'Ugh, for God's sake'." 

And while most people are incredibly grateful to come back and eat out, others, she said, "are quick to forget." 

"When we did the takeaway [before July 4th] one guy came up and said 'oh, is that all you're doing, is that all the beer you've got?' We've got a cocktail, a beer and a wine on draft. It's like: 'mate - nowhere else is open, where are you going to go?"

The bottom line is the same as it ever was, Pip concluded.

"Just say something to us. If you say something in person we can fix it. If you leave a review, it's too late for us to do anything." 

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 7th August 2020

'We've seen top dogs who should be doing things that they're not'