A guide to dining out this winter

We’re now faced with at least six months of odd-feeling limits to our social freedom. But supporting great restaurants can still be one of life’s joys. 

In August, we scoffed 100m cut price meals thanks to Eat Out to Help Out. If you share our love of food, restaurants and pubs and the three million people who work in them, now’s the time to eat out for full value. 

Your evening can be about more than just socialising and your taste buds too. 

Here at the Sustainable Restaurant Association we know quite a lot about the places you like to go and eat. We’ve spent 10 years in the kitchens, fridges, back offices and staff rooms.  We work with restaurants to help them improve social and environmental impact. So we also know more acutely than most how the industry has taken a battering like so many of our plans for 2020. 

Here’s our guide to eating out this winter that will ensure you help keep alive the industry we all love with the added bonus of having a wider positive impact, on farmers and the environment.  

Just follow these simple steps: 

Book Early 

Welcome to the winter of non-spontaneous plans. 
Table at 6pm? 5:30? 
It’s no longer just your gran that likes dinner on the table while you’re still digesting lunch. 
Did you know that eating late at night interferes with the circadian rhythm? 
Personally, I’ve got enough reasons to lie awake at night without 4 courses at 9pm hanging over me. 
Eat early. Digest fully. Sleep better. 

Show Up 

As a rebellious flicker against the freedoms we see being pinched, too many of us are booking tables online then not showing up. 
We get it. But imagine having to space out the tables and shut early and then turn people away from your empty table. 
This is about as socially acceptable as coughing on a bus. 
Please, book direct with the restaurant wherever possible. 
Your phone can dial theirs. 
You get the joy of an actual human interaction; the restaurant doesn’t have to pay a commission for the privilege, and you can get a better table. 
Plans change; a flaky friend feigns illness? 
Call them and cancel. 

Respect Staff 

It’s been a bumpy year for most people who are building a career in hospitality. 
So please respect your night’s key worker. 
Applause optional. 
Smiling through it all, and through a cotton mask, they are here to help you have a good time. 
They’re also swimming in new rules and laws and probably very long internal emails. 
They are real beyond their immediate purpose. 
Let them create. Let them tell you what you want. 
Give. Them. Space 

Choose #FoodMadeGood 

We think you should support our members? Pretty self-serving right? 
Our members are some of the industry’s most passionate advocates for social and environmental changes 
Wherever they are on their journey; you dining out with a Food Made Good member gives them confidence to go further. 
What you choose on the menu kicks back to a landscape. 
It supports or degrades a piece of earth, farmers, wildlife and communities. 
So explore and find the most sustainable dishes on the menu. 
Choose Food Made Good 
We’ve got your back.
To do your bit for the future of our food… 
Go early. Show up. Respect staff. 
Choose #FoodMadeGood 

By Andrew Stephen, Chief Executive, Sustainable Restaurant Association

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Restaurants, Cafes, Hotels, Pubs…
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