Monday, 29 February 2016
"Roast beef on Sundays, all right!"
The pub chain announced the decision to drop the Sunday staple meal as customers opt for more "fashionable fare" such as Mexican food and curries. Wetherspoon’s will concentrate instead on pub classics such as fish and chips, pies and sausage and mash, alongside more contemporary offerings such as burgers, hot dogs, ribs and wraps. This will enable the company to focus on the range of items on its all-day, "core" menu.
There are around 950 Wetherspoon’s outlets in the UK, and the chain has sold roasts for the last 15 years; offering meal deals as low as £6.59, normally with an alcoholic drink thrown in. Many customers were disappointed to hear the news, but a spokesman for the company, which has food sales of around £800 million per year, insisted the decision, was not taken as a result of plummeting sales. Despite this, he confirmed that the last roast dinner will be served this coming Sunday March 6th, Mothering Sunday, as the firm “just don’t want to do it anymore”.
There is obviously more to this decision than this throw-away remark, with cost-cutting and streamlining of the whole operation the most likely reasons. As a number of commentators have pointed out, there is a problem associated with Sunday Roast of keeping the food at a perfect condition to be served, throughout the period of service which, in Wetherspoon’s case, can often be several hours.
Others have claimed that the chain recently changed over from carved freshly cooked joints to pre cooked and sliced packet meats which, although would have made a reasonable sandwich, are no good when it comes to a proper roast dinner. I have noticed the use of frozen roast potatoes, as well as frozen (and under-cooked) vegetables, and many have gone so far as to accuse the firm of “penny pinching".
In contrast, there is very little waste with the rest of the Wetherspoon’s menu as it's all “ring and ping”. Food is pre-cooked and then held for up to three days when it is popped in the microwave and warmed for service Place your order for a burger and 6 minutes later there it is!
I have eaten a number of Wetherspoon’s roasts over the years; although I doubt that number reached into double figures. Nevertheless, like many customers, I will be sorry to see this traditional Sunday staple disappear. I would imagine too that farmers and meat suppliers are also rather concerned by the axing of a dish which many people still regard as part of the traditional British Sunday.
"Roast beef on Sundays, all right". From the Kinks' 1967 Top Twenty Hit,. "Autumn Almanc"; a song which encapsulates many quintessential things about English life.
Images are from the JDW website.