Chef Lee Skeet of Cora restaurant in Cardiff, U.K. has made headlines for calling out a group of rich diners who disrespected his waitress and for banning them from returning to the restaurant.
Skeet shared an email written to the entitled diner on Twitter and expressed his belief that “we should start calling out rich people who think they can treat people like crap.”
Despite the fact that the group of diners had racked up the highest bill at his restaurant – $1,200 – Skeet stood by his co-worker who had been harassed by the group.
In a time when employees are leaving their jobs over toxic work environments and bosses, Skeet demonstrated what an exemplary workplace looks like.
“Dear xxxxxxx,” started the email, “I wanted to firstly thank you for choosing my restaurant for your meal tonight, and I understand you had the biggest bill we’ve ever had on one table here. Unfortunately throughout the evening, I was made aware that your party’s behavior was inappropriate towards Lily, who runs front-of-house. She has told me that as a 22-year-old-girl she was talked down to, disrespected, and touched unwantedly by members of your group.”
Skeet explained that Lily was left scarred by the experience, and he had 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 own daughter.”
The chef requested that the diners provide their bank details, so he could refund their entire bill of £1000 minus £100, which he believed they should have tipped Lily. He intended to pay the tip directly to her, as they left no tip. However, he also added, “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 Lee.”
Eventually, Skeet announced that the rich diners didn’t deserve to have their bill refunded, and he decided to give the $1,200 bill to Lily. “On reflection, I reacted too quickly and emotionally last night. Sorry, I was a little bit angry and protective. I’m not going to refund the customer’s money. I’ve instead kept it and transferred to Lily x,” he tweeted.
Cora restaurant serves just 12 guests in an intimate dining room, showcasing the best quality seasonal produce available each day, and the guests are served a set tasting menu. Skeet has previously worked for Gordon Ramsay and made headlines in 2017 when he was almost killed after being crushed by a crane.
A lorry carrying a crane mounted the pavement and crushed Skeet’s leg. The lorry narrowly missed hitting his son, who was in a stroller.
Skeet received praise for standing up for his employee, with one Twitter user writing, “Oh my heart…an employer that just touched my heart. Lee, I don’t know you, may even never get the opportunity to meet you but know the world would have been a better place if all of us could have been like you.”
Another chef also chimed in, praising Skeet, “I am a chef. Can’t tell you the amount of times I have found one of our front-of-house in tears because of behavior like this. Bravo. Many forget that this is someone’s child, and it is quite possibly her first job. Their first job should be one that sets them up.”
Another added, “So happy to see an employer stand up so fiercely and unwaveringly for a member of their team…” Amazing!