Angry café owners have allegedly slammed customers for not spending enough while they held up tables and staff for three hours.
A letter which was shared online by one of the customers of the cafe, claiming it was wriiten by the owners of Henry’s Bistro Café in Wallington, south west London, has sparked debate on social media. But most people are taking sides with the cafe owners.
Posting on the Wallington, Surrey Facebook group, a woman claimed the family who run Henry’s Bistro Café told her that she and her 16 friends did not spend enough to cover the venue’s costs during a recent visit.
It was reported that the woman and her friends stayed in the café on Manor Road for three hours during which they spent only £55 amongst them. The alleged letter from the cafe claims that the group’s visit left the café with a “financial loss” and that each person spent “less than the price of a cup of tea every hour”.
The letter reads:
“Your group of 17 people recently visited our restaurant for nearly three hours spending a total of £55.
“When you originally approached us, you assured us that the spending from the group would be of an amount making yours/our understanding to be a beneficial one.
“You also went to great lengths to show support for a new and local business by raising our profile via social media.
“However, the visit left us with a financial loss that is neither sustainable nor how a business/restaurant works.”
“Larger companies and organisations may have a financial structure to ‘balance off’ these losses, and some can even be slightly loose with their morals in the way that they conduct their business.
“We as a start-up, a new and totally independent business, cannot afford to, and will not behave in that manner.”
“To further explain our loss, £55 divided by 17 is approximately £3.24 per head, which, divided by three hours, is approximately £1.07 per head gross – less than the price of a cup of tea every hour.
“That level of spend does not even begin to cover the national minimum wage of £7.83 per hour, let alone the cost of our materials, rents, administrative charges to the business and, after all that, to be able to put aside and raise for wages to provide for employment.
“You could argue that a business will face some losses along the way, but we say not from 17 customers in one day. It more than wiped out the day’s profits.
“There are also going to be those that will accuse us of being greedy even after we’ve explained the financial standing, but we must insist that the group needs to reconsider its spending levels.
“At present, for the business there is no incentive or obligation to carry on with this relationship.”
After the letter was shared online, it sparked a debate. But most of the commenters were taking sides with the café owner.
One man commented: “We all want independent businesses to succeed, so we must play the game by spending a fair amount too.”
Another wrote: “It is not a public meeting room, next time maybe you should take it in turns to host at home.”
And another woman wrote: “It seems that the person who posted this letter, instead of getting sympathy, has boosted the profile of the bistro. I’ve never heard of it until now and will certainly be visiting.”
However, others disagreed and claimed the alleged letter was “rude” and that the café should start taking deposits from large groups.