Thursday, 1 September 2011

Join the queue

I love the Lake District. Wonderful scenery and any number of pubs serving good beer. However, the enjoyment comes at a price - literally. Pub grub is expensive. In most of the pubs that are worth visiting you'll be lucky to find anything around the £10 mark. £12 to £15 is not untypical with £18 the going rate for a decent steak. I'm not talking anything fancy here, fish and chips, Cumberland sausage and chips etc. For a family of four that's at least £50 without drinks.

So after a few pints of Cumbrian Five Hop and New Zealand Pale Ale at Hawkshead's Staveley Beer Hall we decided to stop off at the Wetherspoon in Kendal. I've been to the 'Miles Thompson' before and its better than the Wetherspoon in Wirral, i.e. they serve a decent pint. The downside at tea time on the Sunday of a bank holiday weekend is how long would it take to get served at the usual 50 yard wide bar with two bar staff.

I was surprised to find that there was a queue for service. That's a proper organised queue post office-style with no exceptions for alcohol only or 'just a bag of crisps'. it took about 10 minutes to reach the bar but I was happy with that. I got served in turn stress-free. Surely the only objection comes from those with no conscience/manners. Some social and night clubs have always used a queuing system but I don't think I've seen it in a pub before. I wish a few more pubs would use this system. Of course Wetherspoons could help matters by actually employing enough staff but that's never going to happen.

BTW four meals plus drinks cost £33 and my pint of Ruskins Bitter from the Kirkby Lonsdale brewery was excellent


  1. Hmm, I can see the point in a crowded Spoons, but it's really just turning a pub into a cafeteria...

  2. It's an unsatisfactory solution to the problem that Spoons don't put enough staff on, even at peak times, but better than no solution at all, I suppose. A specific till just for food orders, leaving other staff to serve those who only want drinks, would be better. If I just want a pint, I don't want to be stuck behind people yelling across the pub, "Tarquin, do you want chips or mash with your dinner?"

  3. Wetherspoon's staff do seem to be particularly bad at the basic bar staff skills of acknowledging customers who are waiting ("I'll be with you in a minute") and serving them in the right order.

    I've been in a Spoons, on an occasion when I was with others so couldn't just walk out, when I've waited fifteen minutes to be served :-(