On Air Now
Heart Breakfast with Jamie & Lucy 6:30am - 10am
12 July 2020, 19:26 | Updated: 13 July 2020, 05:49
Michelin starred chef Tom Kerridge has criticised dozens of people who failed to turn up at his restaurant this weekend, claiming their "selfish" behaviour is putting hospitality jobs at risk.
Twenty-seven people did not honour their reservations for Kerridge's restaurant at the Corinthia Hotel in central London on Saturday, he wrote on Instagram.
In a furious post addressed to the "no-show" customers, he said: "This industry, like many others is on the verge of collapse.
"Your behaviour is disgraceful, short-sighted and downright unhelpful. YOU are putting people's jobs more at risk.
"You are the worst kind of guest, and that is 'selfish'. I hope you have [a] good look at yourselves..."
Many pubs, hotels and restaurants have been left crippled by mounting costs and unable to open despite the coronavirus lockdown easing.
Those that have reopened claim they may not survive the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, with social distancing reducing customers by up to two thirds.
Clare Smyth, who worked as chef patron for Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, replied to Kerridge's post offering her support.
She wrote: "Well said Tom. We need to educate people now more than ever. Our industry needs to come into line with others.
"Staff don't work for free because the guests don't turn up. Ingredients are prepared and wasted. It is incredibly disrespectful."
:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
Fellow Michelin star chef Jason Atherton added: "This is not okay.
"You should be ashamed of yourself and we should have protection against this as we are fighting for our very lives."
In a bid to prop up the hospitality industry and revamp the economy, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on Wednesday that VAT will be reduced from 20% to 5% across pubs, cafes, hotels and restaurants between 15 July and 12 January.
He also launched the "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme that will half the price of meals at participating restaurants every Monday to Wednesday.
But many still fear the government has eased lockdown restrictions too quickly, with even its chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warning: "It is not risk free.
"Every time you take a step to open up there is some associated risk with that."