Can bargain lunches cure cost-of-living blues?

The Castle Hotel in Taunton (above) has joined chef Tom Kerridge in offering bargain-price lunches for the month of September to lift the country’s mood during the current cost of living crisis. The fixed-price menu of two courses for £15 or three for £20 will be served in the hotel’s restaurant Brazz from Tuesday to Saturday.

Andrew Swann, the Castle’s executive chef, said: “I love to see a busy and buzzing dining room full of happy diners, and we hope by offering such great value that more people will be able to enjoy lunch out even with things as difficult as they are. Simply prepared dishes but with great local produce is what this menu is all about.”

Tom Kerridge set the ball rolling with a similar offer at three of his venues –  Kerridge’s Bar & Grill at the Corinthia hotel in Whitehall, London, the Coach in Marlow and the Bull & Bear in Manchester. He said he would make no profit from the lunches, but that was not the point.

The aim is to get the excitement and buzz back into restaurants without guests having the fear of spending too much money. A taste of the good times at a fraction of the price. Please come and join us, and most importantly, make a booking in London, Manchester or Marlow.”

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, welcomed incoming Prime Minister Liz Truss’s “positive plan” to tackle the crisis in energy costs, but urged the government to go further with a reduction in VAT to 12.5% and a business rates holiday. “Businesses cannot wait for three months to find out what support is planned, nor can they wait until the end of the price freeze to receive it. Without urgent details who and how it will be targeted, many hospitality biz will be forced to take difficult decisions”.

She suggested a raft of further measures that would help businesses weather the storm, including deferral of environmental levies.

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