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Christchurch restaurant owner lashes out at customers

Belgian Beer Cafe Torenhof owner Mark McGuinness wrote the Facebook post, but later deleted it.

A Christchurch restaurant owner has vented his frustration about customers who, he says, cost him up to $2000 of lost revenue on Saturday night. 

The post on the Belgian Beer Cafe Torenhof Facebook page at 8.55pm on Saturday began with a broadside at poor customer attitudes.

"In hospitality we love our customers but by god we get sick of the fact that they treat us very indifferently."

Hospitality is a tough industry in Christchurch at the moment.

A woman who demanded a new meal after her twice cooked pork belly arrived without crackling on Friday was the first example of bad behaviour.

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Owner Mark McGuinness, who wrote the post, said the woman did not know what she had ordered or had not read the menu properly, which was not uncommon. 


Belgian Beer Cafe Torenhof took to Facebook to complain about customers in this post on Saturday night.

His real beef was with a group that made a booking for 50, confirmed the day before for 40, but turned up with just 20 people. 

The cafe had hired an extra chef and front of house staff, and had platters ready for the 6.30pm arrival. 

".... the lass who booked it turns up last at 6.45pm and guess what, there's only 20 of them."

"We won't be taking any more bookings this year from...[people like them]."

Speaking to Stuff, McGuinness acknowledged staff had "slipped up" by not taking a deposit when the booking was confirmed – as was the usual protocol – but said the behaviour was still unacceptable. 

"We probably lost $1600 to $2000 on the night and the frustration from my point of view was that over the last 13 years this is about the fifth time this particular organisation have done something like this to us."

After a few hours the post was removed, as the comments got out of hand, but most had been supportive, McGuiness said. 

He would not use the Facebook page in that way in future as he realised it was too difficult to manage. 

The incidents were even more frustrating when the Christchurch hospitality sector was having "a very, very difficult time" and the "worst winter since the earthquake", McGuinness said. 

Spokeswoman for Hospitality New Zealand Rachael Shadbolt said she sympathised with McGuinness but advised members not to take revenge on social media.

"It's never a good option to let rip, even if every fibre of your being wants to do exactly that."

She said the comments would risk offending potential customers who may see it as disrespectful or aggressive. 

South Island Area Manager for Hospitality New Zealand Amy McLellan-Minty said without event facilities such as a convention centre or stadium, the hospitality industry would continue to struggle in Christchurch. 

"If we could have events like the Bruce Springsteen concert and the Cricket World Cup more often we would be better off."

She said there had been a proliferation of new venues opening up in the city but without an increase in domestic and international visitors to push up demand, they would struggle. 

This frustration was probably behind McGuinness' Facebook post, McLellan-Minty said. 




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