Miller Arms receives angry backlash from Christmas guests over waiting times on food which left staff in tears

Guests who attended The Miller Arms restaurant in Singleton for their Christmas dinner took to social media to vent their outrage over waiting times and overcrowding.

By Emma Downey
Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 11:05 am

Old people left outside in the cold, children screaming as they hadn't been served their dinner, no social guidelines being adhered and staff being screamed at by guests leaving them in tears, were just some of the scenes guests claim they witnessed yesterday with one describing it as 'mayhem'.

The family run-business which displays a 4.4 rating on google opened its doors on Christmas Day to families which quickly escalated into chaotic scenes.

Steve James Todd who attended with his girlfriend and nan said his Christmas dinner was ruined.

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The Miller Arms in Singleton.

"There was no social distance guidelines in place, no organisation by staff to keep families distanced. Old fragile people were being made to sit outside and wait for a table to become free. Children were screaming because they couldn't get seated, it was mayhem."

He added: "I along, with many others, complained to management on site but no apology was offered and they abandoned the young staff instead to deal with the onslaught of complaints.

"I have since emailed the manager direct who did reply and admitted in his own words that this was a "disaster". There are a lot of angry people."

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Elaine Borsay described the service she received as an "absolute disgrace". She booked in for 4.45pm and claims at 6.45pm decided to leave after not getting an explanation as to why her starters had not arrived.

"There were lots of people getting up and walking out. I felt sorry for people with young children who after waiting so long for their Christmas dinner were now getting upset.

"I want to say a massive well done to the staff that was trying their best in such a difficult situation after the manager left extremely young members of staff to deal with all the stress and angry customers."

Commending staff for even working Christmas Day whilst under pressure, another said: "Sadly I think the restaurant bit off more than it could chew today. The staff we saw were so friendly and helpful while clearly under a great deal of stress.

"We arrived at 1400 for the 1415 sitting. We were told our tables weren’t yet ready and there would be a short wait. Many others also arrived for this sitting with no sign of being seated. While we waited, main courses from the previous sitting (1215) were only just being served. As more people arrived and couldn’t be seated, the bar area became chaotic with people becoming increasingly frustrated with waiting.

"There were numerous disgruntled customers who were unnecessarily rude to staff - I realise it’s Christmas Day and everyone wants to enjoy time with their family, but being rude and mouthing off to a young waitress isn’t going to help the circumstances. They’re the ones working on Christmas Day and not seeing their families - at least be nice to them.

"We were seated at around 1545 and our starters arrived quickly thereafter. The main course arrived at 1710 and the pudding at 1815. Service was slow but the food was tasty, particularly the pudding. I think part of the problem - along with staff sickness - was that they were serving each sitting as a banquet with everyone receiving each course at the same time. This removed any flexibility from the service, slowed it down and meant that delays were amplified. Something clearly went wrong with the first sitting, the food was delayed significantly and tables couldn’t be cleared quickly enough - this impacted on the subsequent sittings. It was just a series of unfortunate events.

"I saw two waitresses crying because of the stress and rude remarks made by customers. No job is worth that. I hope they get some time off over the rest of the holiday season."

Apologising for any distress caused, a spokesperson for the restaurant said he hoped customers would extend some leniency due to unforeseen circumstances out of their control such as lack of staff due to Covid, guests turning up late and tills going down for over two hours.

"We had 350 people booked in for Christmas Day with different sittings throughout and had four people call in sick as they tested positive for Covid.

"We made the decision to either cancel bookings and ruin people's Christmas or make the best out of a bad situation and make it work.

"One of the problem's that arose was people turning up over an hour late for their 12.15pm sitting which threw the 2.15pm sitting off and placed additional pressure on the kitchen.

"With people turning up late they had to wait in the bar which then became overcrowded meaning the waitresses struggled to get past them.

"The tills also crashed as the internet went down for over two hours meaning taking payments and orders was a struggle."

They added: "We cannot be held responsible for people turning up late and changing orders.

"Young staff were being screamed at by guests.

"Yes, it was disastrous. Mistakes were made. A lot of things were out of our control.

"Seven people have emailed, all of which will receive a refund.

"The company apologises and can only learn from this.

We have a good rating of 4.4 on google "Had we have know that Covid would still be as rife we definitely would not have opened on Christmas Day.

"Anyone wishing to discuss this further can contact[email protected]k for a prompt response."