A Kent pub is taking a unique approach to tackling the cost-of-living crisis – by announcing a Sunday lunch service where customers can pay what they like.
Landlord Claire Hammond-Miller, who took over the 16th-century boozer in 2021 with husband Ash, told KentOnline they want to try and do more for the local community.
“We’ve been working with Faversham Foodbank for a few months and I’ve always wondered what more could we do to help,” she said.
“It’s such a tough time. Everybody is struggling in some way or another and people are in unfortunate positions.
“Just because people are struggling for money at times doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a life. Everybody wants to have a life.
“We can offer somewhere for people to come and enjoy themselves, have a nice dinner and not have to worry about being priced out of living life.”
Punters will be expected to pay for their drinks but will be able to enjoy starters, mains and desserts as part of the promotion – but tables need to be booked in advance.
Diners will be offered staples of the Shepherd Neame pub's menu such as fresh fish or a full Sunday roast.
Customers will be given a bill only tallying up the drinks, with the food bill to be presented as blank.
Claire hopes this move will help ease the pressure on those who might feel compelled to match the usual price of the meal.
She acknowledged they will need to be wary of people taking advantage of the scheme.
“We have regulars who we know so we can judge it in that way,” she said,
“We won’t let people take advantage, if we know better.
“But ultimately, we do have to take people at face value.
“When you’re doing something like this, you do hope everyone coming has the same good intentions.”
Claire estimates the inn takes anywhere between £2,500 and £3,000 on a regular Sunday service.
They can serve up to 35 customers per hour, though this will be slightly reduced on the day to reduce pressure on the staff and diners.
And while she’s not sure how much the venture could cost the business, she admits they’ll need to be close to breaking even to make it a regular event.
“We’re not doing it to turn a profit – we want to help everyone however we can,” she said.
“But we will have to be mindful. We’ll use the occasion as a trial run to see how it works and if it does work then that’d be ideal.”
Claire’s time at the Queens Head has been well-received, with a 4.5 star rating on Tripadvisor.
Last year, KentOnline’s Secret Drinker visited the old tavern and made a note of the “beautiful historic features”.
He also paid tribute to the team who run the pub – calling the food “spectacularly tasty”.