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

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 7th August 2020

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." 

In these challenging times…

…the hospitality landscape has dramatically changed in the last two months, and with that our advertising revenues have all but expired, significantly impacting our business. Despite having to furlough a large portion of our staff, we are still delivering the valuable content and honest information, which hundreds of thousands of you come to The Staff Canteen for. We believe we have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs, are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector.

Your financial support means we remain independent and open to all. We were launched by a chef and remain the voice of chefs and other hospitality professionals.

We need your support to keep delivering the products and content that you love, giving you the platform to share opinions and inspiration. Every contribution whether big or small, means so much.
Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you

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'