HARDWORKING staff at a group of pubs in south Cumbria served up more than 15,000 dishes over just 13 days of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
The food was ordered by 6,000 customers of Lakeland Inns between Mondays and Wednesdays last month.
The group includes The Sun Inn, in Ulverston, The Commodore in Grange, The Black Cock in Broughton and The Royal Oak in Spark Bridge.
Area manager Charlotte Hargan explained the Eat Out to Help Out scheme was a catalyst for the biggest change in customer ordering habits her teams had ever seen.
“We were hopeful that Eat Out to Help Out would bring people back into our pubs when it was announced but it turned out to be more successful than we’d initially thought,” she said.
“We’ve seen a far higher percentage of customers ordering three courses, or a starter, main course and sides than ever before. There’s been a complete change in how people order.
“Being out with family or friends is a special event after so many months of not being able to see loved ones.
“We’ve noticed people really making an occasion of it and it’s something we’re proud to be part of too.”
At Lakeland Inns, menu classics like fish and chips remained a firm favourite with customers, as did the eternally popular burger menu at The Sun Inn.
But dishes ordered less often - such as a 12oz fillet steak available at The Commodore - were ordered three times more often than usual.
Charlotte added: “We’re lucky to have a loyal, friendly customer base who visit our pubs regularly for good food and a catch up with friends and family.
“But we’ve found the scheme also brought new people in who have told us they are so impressed they’ll come back regularly from now on.
“From that point of view, it’s given us an opportunity to meet new people and turn them into regular customers by offering excellent food and good service.
“I have to thank customers, new and returning, who visited during Eat Out to Help Out as well as those who come to us for the first time for filling our pubs with smiles and laughter once more.
“Huge appreciation must also go to our teams who have worked so hard this summer to implement social distancing and new ways of working to keep everyone safe, as well as adapting so quickly to the changing requirements of everyone who visits Lakeland Inns.”
Eat Out to Help Out was launched by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help boost the hospitality sector this summer.
It provided diners with a 50 per cent discount up to a value of £10 each on meals and soft drinks between Monday and Wednesday each week in August.
It is estimated some 100 million meals were served under the scheme across the country.