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Restaurant owner slammed after ‘publicly shaming’ customer who asked for free dessert

Restaurant owner slammed after ‘publicly shaming’ customer who asked for free dessert

The owner of WOOD Restaurant Manchester has been slammed online for shaming a customer who asked if they could have a free dessert.

Celebrating your special occasion is something that many like to do and do it big.

For example, you might book a trip away, reserve a table at a sought-after restaurant or plan an activity.

Regardless, it’s the experience that counts.

But after one customer sent an innocuous email to a restaurant asking for a free dessert, they probably didn’t expect to be blasted all over social media for it.

Simon Woods, owner of Wood Restaurant Manchester blasted a customer online.
X/ @SimonJWoodUK

The email came to the owner of the WOOD restaurant in Manchester, a fine dining experience, with the subject line: ‘Re: Festive Menu’ which Simon Wood, the chef and owner, shared on X, formerly Twitter as punishment for the request.

The hopeful diner wrote to the restaurant: “Hello Daniel, that’s awesome thank you.

“As it’s the first anniversary from me and my husband, would it be possible to give us a good table with a nice view and maybe a complimentary Dessert? As I want to surprise my partner.

“Thanks in Advance for your answer.”

It was a polite enquiry into whether the establishment would be able to provide a free dessert, which isn’t uncommon when it comes to birthdays or engagements.

The restaurant, described online as a ‘chef-driven open kitchen with à la carte, theater & tasting menus, full bar & a chic, modern vibe’, may not have been the place to ask for a free dish.

The patron had asked for a free dessert for her anniversary.
Joff Lee / Getty Images

Regarding the request, the owner wasn’t too pleased with the question and decided to hit back by posting the email to social media, where he wrote: "Unbelievable…. Free food for celebrations, that’s why we’re here after all…."

However, his post didn’t go down very well with the public.

One user reposted the owner’s comment to call into question why asking for a free dessert is such an issue.

She wrote: “I really don’t see the problem with this, so many restaurants and hotels do this for people for special occasions. You’ve outed a polite customer asking for a £10 dessert for what??”

A commenter was quick to defend Wood, however, and wrote: “I think it’s the expectation of it, I think a lot of places would do it maybe if they weren’t asked and it was a surprise maybe as good will, but good will ends when everyone starts expecting something for free really.”

The exchange with the restaurant was posted on X.
X/ @SimonJWoodUK

But others weren’t impressed, with someone quipping back: “Still, how easy would it have been to say no instead of humiliating her on socials”.

It was quite the mixed review underneath the owner’s post after users were divided over whether the customer expected a freebie or if they were simply enquiring into the possibility.

One person wasn’t happy at all with the public shaming and slammed Wood, writing: “Publicly shaming a customer that asked for a complimentary dessert on their special day is so ghetto.

“She asked nicely and with courtesy. Could have used this to show empathy and score cheap points with it. It's just a f*****g Tiramisu ffs.

“Chef needs Cusomer [sic] service training.”

But it appears that the post garnered a lot of publicity for the restaurant as the owner went back into the comments today (17 December) to thank everyone for their interactions and to promote some images of his dishes.

Wood wrote: “Thanks for all the interaction folks. I’m moving on to sweeter things, enjoy this topic amongst yourselves.

“Happy Christmas and au revoir”

Wood told LADbible: "Hospitality isn’t about giving profits away in the worst economic climate for decades.

"Hospitality means extending a welcome to travelers or offering a home away from home, within that we provide great service and ambience alongside well thought out seasonal dishes prepared with care and each one is made by the chefs meticulously from scratch.

"We have around a 150-200 celebrations at WOOD a week, giving something to everyone shouldn’t be expected, the entitlement surrounding this is obscene.

"Going to a nice restaurant and celebrating is the treat, the icing on the cake, the whole experience and team you have assisting you are building that memory with your loved ones.

"Any business can help you do that, but it costs money as you know, when you choose to go somewhere it costs money: restaurants, gigs, bars, theatres, shows, cinema are all hospitality and night time economy.

"Hospitality is an agile generous industry. It’s not one that operates on large margins. And simply to ask for free things before you get somewhere is not acceptable. Why is this expected of restaurants, why not holidays, flights, cars, buying a new iPhone or a newspaper?

"We provide on average 50-100 free meals each week at WOOD, around 4,000 a year for various food-related charities in the city, the people who come in and buy a dessert and keep the restaurant ticking over enable myself and the team at WOOD to be able to do that. But the negative take will always outweigh any positive."

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images/X/SimonJWoodUK

Topics: Food And Drink, News, Social Media, Twitter, UK News