Good Food Guide Closes

The Good Food Guide has ceased publication after 70 years, according to Waitrose, the gourmet’s bible owner since 2013.

A brief statement said: there are “no plans to publish future guides.” The supermarket chain will retain the brand, and “continue to champion the industry”, a statement said.

Elizabeth Carter, the guide’s consultant editor for the past 14 years, said it was “hard to come to terms with this end of an era,” adding. “The guide’s 70-year legacy will always be unrivalled. I’m proud to have continued the legacy of championing independent restaurants, pubs and cafes across the UK. Over the years the unique reach of the guide has been acknowledged by chefs and proprietors for putting bums on seats.”

The Good Food Guide was created in 1951 by Raymond Postgate in response to the dire state of post war dining in Britain. Postgate, a journalist, author, first world war pacifist and socialist, founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Food – later the Good Food Club – and invited volunteers across the country to submit reports of restaurants serving decent food.

The first guide, which included 600 entries and sold 5,000 copies. By 2019 – the year of the last guide to be published in physical form pre Covid,– there were 1,200 entries.

Restaurant critic Jay Rayner lamented: “For generations it has continued to be an invaluable source of vital intelligence on where the great places are, despite a massively changed restaurant landscape. My parents swore by it and I’ve used it throughout my years of restaurant reviewing. Its end was hugely dispiriting.”

When the guide was not published as a physical format last year because of the pandemic, there was no indication that it would not reappear. In recent months, the John Lewis Partnership, which owns Waitrose, has announced shop closures and job losses.