A restaurant owner has posted a WhatsApp exchange with an angry customer who demanded free food and threatened to slap him after being forced to wait for 12 minutes to be seated.
The customer at The Gatehouse Steakhouse in Dolgellau, Wales, was annoyed he had been slightly delayed during a busy period when the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme was on.
The government-backed scheme gave diners a 50% discount throughout August at participating restaurants and pubs on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, to a maximum of £10 per head.
The customer threatened to write a negative TripAdvisor review if he was not compensated with a complimentary meal and a partial refund.
But owner John Dolan was not having it and has since posted the exchange on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
The customer wrote: “We had to wait 12 minutes to be seated, we were stood in a line outside.
“Do you think is okay? I'm not f*****g happy about this.”
Dolan apologised and said there was a short delay due to the high number of customers taking advantage of the government scheme.
Things escalated when the customer said he was “paying the restaurant staff's wages” and seemingly tried to blackmail the owner into giving him food and a refund.
In a swear-filled rant, the customer said he’d “write a s*** review” to ruin the business and that he’d tell his friends Dolan “doesn't care about customers”.
“You kept me and my wife waiting five minutes,” the customer said. “That doesn't happen in Wetherspoons and you're double the price.”
He added: 'Who the f*** you talking to you cheeky arrogant b******”, and threatened to slap Dolan if he saw him.
Dolan replied: “I'm at the Gatehouse Steakhouse now should you wish to slap me... hands full making five kilos of coleslaw but I can take a break.”
Dolan added in the Facebook post: “Whilst we have done everything to maximise business and make customers happy, there is always one absolute spanner.”
He told Yahoo UK: “If you’re working in hospitality you will understand how difficult it is.
“Lots of restaurants are low on staff at the moment and we’re having to do two people’s jobs and work all the hours god sends to pay bills.
“It makes it a lot more difficult when you have people coming in and nitpicking and having small problems and making it into a mountain.”
The restaurant owner praised Eat Out to Help Out and said his restaurant would be offering other regular discounts now that it was over.
Restaurant spending increased by more than a third on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August, compared with the month before, transaction data from Barclaycard Payments shows.
Barclaycard Payments CEO Rob Cameron said: “It’s clear that ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ had a positive impact on restaurant and fast-food spend in August resulting in many businesses choosing to extend the discounts into September, even without the government incentive.
“Consumer feedback has also been very encouraging, with almost one in five planning to continue dining out more often to support the industry, and a similar number saying that they will return to restaurants that they would not have visited otherwise.
“Restaurants across the UK will be looking to maintain this boost in trade, especially with the Christmas period now in sight.”