Although it should go without saying that having money doesn't give one the right to treat people however they like, especially those who work in service roles, sometimes people need a gentle reminder. Even though rude or conceited behaviour occurs far too frequently, one chef confronted a group of patrons who overpaid at his restaurant but mistreated a member of his staff. Chef Lee Skeet of Cora in Cardiff, UK, recently shared an email he wrote to one of the group members. He continued to speak on his coworker's behalf even though the diners' $1,200 dinner expenditure was the highest his restaurant had ever seen.
In his tweet, Skeet included a screenshot of the email. "Dear [redacted], let me start by saying how much I appreciate that you chose my restaurant for your dinner tonight. I also know that you had the largest bill we've ever seen on one table here," he wrote. "Unfortunately, I learned throughout the evening that your party did not behave appropriately toward Lily, who oversees front-of-house operations. She has informed me that when she was a 22-year-old girl, some of your group members made fun of her, talked down to her, and touched her inappropriately.
The chef continued and explained the toll it took on Lily. “I have spent the last hour having conversations with her that break my heart, make me feel like a sh*t employer, and a terrible dad, having my daughter,” he said. He then went on to offer a refund to the bill—except for the minus £100 which he believed should’ve gone to Lily. Because to make matters worse, the group didn’t leave a tip.
“I would thank you to never come back to my restaurant. Lily means a lot more to me than money. I also think you should assess the people you surround yourself with.”
Shortly after the diners left, the chef wrote the letter. But after giving it some thought, he decided not to give them their money back and instead gave it all to Lily.
It's already difficult to work in the restaurant industry, especially in light of the pandemic, labour shortages, and supply chain problems. Skeet's actions serve as a potent reminder that those who work in customer service roles are not worthy of the mistreatment that those in positions of authority feel they can inflict upon them.
Twitter users praised Skeet for defending his employees. One person tweeted, "[I] am a chef." I can't even begin to count the number of times this kind of behaviour has left one of our FOH [front of house] in tears. Well done. Many people overlook the fact that this may be the person's first job and that it is their child. Setting them up should be their first task. not in the place of their abuse.