Something Funny is Happening at Harvester

Comedian Rhys James teaches Harvester staff to serve up some Rib Ticklers
Family restaurant Harvester helps bring attention and some fun back to the table

We’ve all been guilty of getting distracted over dinner by social media, texting or thinking about where we’re going to hurry off to next, so to help bring attention back to the dinner table, Harvester recruited comedian Rhys James (of Mock the Week fame) to provide its staff with some comedic coaching.

The UK's favourite feel good restaurant hopes to help bring people together over food and drink and add some fun back into to its customers’ dining experiences through the use of some ‘fish & quips’.


A poll of 800 people conducted by the restaurant chain on Twitter revealed that the top dining situations people felt could use some humour are:

  • Screaming children (35 per cent)

  • Fellow diners too distracted by phones to have a conversation (26 per cent)

  • An awkward first date (21 per cent)

  • Boring dinner with the family (18 per cent)

A video of the ‘RibTickler’ training session sees Rhys James take one Harvester team through a variety of comedy tactics and conversation starters before putting their new skills to test on unsuspecting diners, as he assists through a hidden camera.

Rhys James said: “I once worked in a restaurant and my banter never received the appreciation it deserved, so it was great to live vicariously through the Harvester team. It’s the ideal situation - if they get a laugh, I’m a genius. If they don’t, then it’s all down to their poor delivery! Some of them did really well with their own improvisation, but I’m secretly going to put this down to my excellent training too.”


Hazel Laughey, who has worked at Harvester for 6 years, said: “I’ve been part of plenty of training sessions but never one quite like this. We’re trained to create ‘feel good moments’ for guests, but this taught us the value of using comedy to improve our guests’ dining experience, which was the extra cherry on top. Admittedly, I was nervous at first, but once the guests started to laugh, it certainly gave me a buzz!”

Rob Pitcher, Divisional Director at Harvester, commented: “Our ethos is based on ‘feel good dining’ and we believe that training our staff in comedy will help bring family and friends closer together. Introducing more humour to the server and guest relationship is something we consider very important. We want guests to know that if they go into a Harvester, they will not only be served delicious food, but they’ll have a brilliant experience too!”