Food critic won’t give bad reviews when restaurants reopen

A food critic has said he won’t be writing negative restaurant reviews for the time-being as ‘kicking anyone in this business at the moment would be the act of an a***hole’.

Thousands of restaurants closed at the start of the UK pandemic in March, with some reopening in May for takeaway-only meals. From July 4, customers will be able to sit inside, but with new safety measures in place, such as glass screens and hand sanitiser stations, to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Already this month, several popular chains including Byron Burger, Las Iguanas and Café Rouge, have made preparations to go into administration due to the pandemic. Prezzo, Wahaca, Wasabi and the owner of Zizzi have also hired advisers in the hope of raising enough money to keep their doors open.

Despite the government allowing business to resume it is likely that the return to dining out will be slow as people build up their confidence and adjust to the new restrictions. To aid with the industry’s recovery, critic Jay Rayner said he will not be giving any bad reviews for the ‘foreseeable future’.

Jay Rayner (The Guardian) attends Melting Gastronomy Summit, the first International Congress of Gastronomy on 14 November 2019 in Porto Customs, Portugal. This meeting promotes open reflection on the wills, discoveries and experiences, food management and the new business of agri-food and tourism. It counts with the participation of several critics, chefs and people related to the gastronomic area in Porto, Portugal. (Photo by Rita Franca/NurPhoto)
Jay Rayner will not be writing negative reviews for the foreseeable future (Picture: PA)

 

Jay Rayner tweet, 28 June https://twitter.com/jayrayner1/status/1277250956237975555
He said kicking anyone in the restaurant business while their down would be the ‘act of an a***hole’ (Picture: Twitter)

 

He continued: ‘If I can’t be broadly positive I simply won’t be writing anything. Don’t think it’s a radical decision in the [circumstances] but needs to be said.’

Mr Rayner later added that it was ‘hardly’ a decent move of him, continued: ‘I do this job because I love restaurants. To kick anyone in this business at the moment would be the act of an a***hole.’

Pubs, cafes, cinemas, and museums are all also due to reopen at the same time as restaurants in England on July 4.

New social-distancing measures mean they will have to provide mandatory table service and customers will be required to give their contact details to staff for contact tracing, should there be a coronavirus outbreak.

Northern Ireland will reopen pubs and restaurants on July 3, with Scotland following suit on July 15, while Wales is due to review its lockdown measures on July 9.

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