Restaurant owner hits out at ‘worst behaved’ customers who leave staff in tears

The owner of a popular Hull restaurant has revealed his staff have been left in tears from abusive and nasty customers post-lockdown.

The Humber Fish Co. in Humber Street is always full of diners, but staff say they have noticed a significant change in behaviour once they reopened after Covid-19 restrictions eased, Hull Live reports.

Owner and head chef James Stockdale has worked in hospitality for 32 years, but in recent months he has observed "the worst behaviour he has ever seen".

James says that while he is grateful to be busy all the time, there have been greater demands and criticisms from customers than ever before.

After the "support local" incentive propelled businesses in the area after lockdown, the owner believes "people have gone the other way now, and are no longer being supportive to business owners".

He said: "I've been working in the industry for over 30 years and this is the worst it has ever been.

"Obviously you get the odd irate customer but people now are just getting nasty.

"I appreciate that we all had a difficult time during the lockdown and Covid times, and we still are having a difficult time. But, it seems to me that after people came out from being locked indoors they've got worse. Everyone is being aggy."

The restaurant has experienced customers calling staff "liars" when walk-ins are told there are no tables available, and staff members have even been "reduced to tears."

James said: "Someone came in last Friday and after telling them we were full he said, ‘you don’t look f******g full’.

"Why would I not want to be full? No one would want to do that. What reason would I have to lie?

"We have a number of young waitresses who work here and they have had enough of the abuse. One waitress was crying in the pot wash the other day."

The owner added that being in hospitality right now isn't easy; restaurants are facing short supplies and staffing issues.

Humber Fish and Co. is putting £150 a week into a job site for advertising job roles but is struggling, much like many other businesses, to hire new staff.

James said: "People are also coming in and are getting mad for short supplies. There isn’t a hospitality business that I know that isn’t struggling, and the public doesn’t realise.

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"Wine companies are screwed so if we don't have Sauvignon Blanc there's not a lot I can do about it."

"The attitude of people has changed from the period of 'support local'. I’d like everyone to come together and support one another.

"I feel for people who have been through a lot, but don’t offload on us. Thankfully, we are always super busy and I want to clarify that most of our customers are so lovely.

"Sadly, the rise in those who aren't nice is killing the romance of going out for a meal."

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