‘This will certainly be a blow to us’ - Suffolk businesses react to axing of leading restaurant guide

The Good Guide 2020

The Good Food Guide 2020 will be its last edition - Credit: Waitrose

One of the hospitality industry’s most revered food and drink handbooks – the Good Food Guide – has announced it is ceasing publication. 

In a statement Waitrose, which publishes the guide, says: “Regrettably we have taken the decision not to publish the Waitrose Good Food Guide during 2021. We are very appreciative of the efforts of all our Partners, inspectors and those who have contributed to the guide during the seven years since we acquired it.  

“We retain the brand but currently have no plans to publish future guides. We will continue to champion the industry through our publications, including Waitrose Food and Waitrose Weekend.” 

Established in 1951 by Raymond Postgate, The Good Food Guide has spent the last 70 years reviewing the best pubs, restaurants and cafés across the UK. It was previously published by Which? books, until it was acquired by Waitrose in 2013. 

A number of Suffolk eateries have been featured in the guide over the years - with 19 businesses currently in the 2020 edition.  

The Kings Arms in Haughley

The Kings Arms in Haughley is one of the 19 Suffolk pubs featured in the most recent edition of the guide - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Each edition of the guide – which is published annually every September – is completely rewritten and compiled from scratch.  

All reviews are based on feedback received from readers, alongside anonymous expert inspections. 

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These are then printed in a physical book and also published on its website - but the 2020 Good Food Guide will be its last edition. 

The announcement has led to an outpouring from a number of Suffolk’s pubs, hotels and restaurants.  

Danny Corcoran, owner of Southwold's Sole Bay Fish Company had relied heavily on the guide over the years, and is sad to see it go.

He says: “People look to these guides for inspiration and recommendations on where to go. Customers have said they’ve seen us in certain publications such as the Good Food Guide before. This will certainly be a blow to us, as we don’t pay to advertise anywhere and we rely on word of mouth.  

“With the hospitality industry as it is at the moment, we’re all trying to get back on our feet, and we’re expecting it to be booming as people won’t be going abroad this summer - but we still need all the help we can get.” 

Lucy Jones is the landlady of The Kings Arm pub in Haughley. Her pub is featured in the current edition of the guide – and she says how much the accolade has helped her business bring in customers. 

“From our point of view, it was a huge achievement for us, and helped us to gain a bit more recognition in the area. We were hoping the year after that, after being recognised a bit more, we’d get a full review. It would’ve been a nice achievement to see our name in the book.” 

The Brewers in Rattlesden has won an spot on the Good Food Guide 2020. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

The Brewers in Rattlesden - Credit: Lauren De Boise

Sam Sturman, chef patron of The Brewers Rattlesden adds: “I was surprised at the news. The Good Food Guide has not only been great for us in terms of recognition, but it’s obviously handy for customers. Especially if people are travelling to Suffolk, they’ll want to see which places have accolades before turning up at them.  

“We’ve had a fair few customers say they’ve found us through the Good Food Guide - every little helps, especially at the moment.” 

The Crown and Castle's general manager John Morrell adds: “The Good Food Guide has been here for many years and has been really respected by us, so it’s a shame to see it go if that’s the case.” 

The closure of the Good Food Guide comes at a time when Suffolk’s pubs, hotels and restaurants are slowly opening back up. 

Indoor dining was given the greenlight to commence on Monday May 17 - with the next pivotal step in the government's road map Monday June 21, when social distancing measures and limits on how many people can meet are due to be lifted.