Toby Carvery is a UK institution and, in more normal times, it is easy to see why it bills itself as "the UK's favourite" for roast dinners.

Anyone who has ever visited will know that their more than generous portions make it the ideal choice for a family Sunday dinner, or for a weeknight for that matter.

But, as with the catering industry as a whole, radical changes have had to be put in place to ensure diners can be kept apart and try to reduce the chance of Covid-19 being passed from person to person.

Toby Carvery closed back in March when the Government announced its lockdown but has now reopened.

I headed out to pile my plate high and to see just how the chain has altered how it does things in a Covid world.

Using their online booking system, I got in there early for a 6pm meal on a Thursday - the plan had been to go a little later but, to my surprise, the website informed me they were fully booked at 7pm suggesting that coronavirus had done little to lessen people's appeitites.

It was the first meal out I had been for since March so, like many people venturing out for the first time in months, there was a slight sense of trepidation about how the process would work.

However, there was no need to be unduly concerned about understanding the do's and don'ts.

After walking in through the door of their Willerby venue, my girlfriend and I were greeted by a a member of staff who was stood behind a computer near the front door.

He explained that we had to give our names - they already had much more information due to using the online booking form - and asked if we had attended since they reopened.

A new one-way system has been put in place to stop people coming into contact with other groups while being served at the carvery
A new one-way system has been put in place to stop people coming into contact with other groups while being served at the carvery

From there, we were instructed to use the hand sanitser placed on a table beside the door before being led to our table.

Once sat, the friendly staff member went on to explain the new rules of getting your food and refillable drinks - all of which had changed from days gone by.

The explanation was comprehensive and absolutely settled those post-lockdown nerves.

The key question, which many Toby fans will want to know, is if you can serve yourself.

Normally, a chef would be on hand to carve the meat and you could plate up as many veggies as you could possibly dream of - however, this is now all handled by a pair of staff.

After placing our drinks order from our table, we headed up to the carvery via the restaurant's new one-way queueing system which had handy floor markers to ensure we could keep our distance.

From there, you simply asked the team for the meat and veg you wanted - they were more than happy to pile the plate high.

However, this was also the point at which questions were raised, in my mind at least.

Lockdown hasn't made Toby Carvery think twice about their huge portion sizes
Lockdown hasn't made Toby Carvery think twice about their huge portion sizes

The two lads doing the serving were not wearing masks or gloves - and I doubt their apron could be classed as PPE.

For all the explanations of what they were doing to counteract the chance of the virus spreading, in practice it seemed futile without more obvious measures taken by the staff.

After returning to our table, we were then served our drinks - a simple Coke and Diet Coke.

Not having to go up to get your drink was a welcome boost, however, I think that would have been preferred to a waitress handing over the drinks herself without the use of gloves.

Obviously, she may have been sanitising her hands regularly, but I felt it didn't send the right message at the very least.

In terms of the food we were served up, it is hard to make any complaints.

For £7.79 per head and the prospect of going back to the counter for seconds - barring meat and Yorkshire's - you can't say fairer than that.

A roast beef meal smothered in gravy
A roast beef meal smothered in gravy

I plumped for gammon, which was hand carved in generous quantities, with everything from carrots and peas to potato gratin and a huge heap of mash potato.

Controversially, washing out my dinner in floods of gravy isn't my thing but I can't say it didn't look appealing on the plate opposite.

We also treated ourselves to a dessert each - a cookie dough ice cream sundae and a mini brownie, which is served with a hot drink.

We both agreed that the puddings could be best described as basic but, in truth, who stuffs their faces with the goodness of a carvery and expects the afters to live up to its dizzying heights.

To summarise, it is to be celebrated that businesses are reopening and welcoming customers back through their doors.

It is great that they put diners at ease so quickly with their sanitising procedures and explanation of measures they have put in place.

However, equipping staff with PPE such as gloves and masks would surely give customers an added confidence boost and reduce the chance of the virus being spread.