This appalling, unfathomable experience took place last Sunday, 19th July 2020, at Copper Cafe, Nottingham.
I’ll give you an insight into our backgrounds from an outsiders perspective. I’m mixed and my partner is tanned with a beard, read into that how you will. Some, associate that with a certain background and want to paint everyone with the same brush.
Let’s backtrack to the day when this incident happened. I was getting ready, when my partner rang the restaurant-that we always have brunch at, to book. Since the coronavirus pandemic, we always ring the restaurant so they can take details over the phone if possible as it just makes it much easier and less physical contact.
So he rings the restaurant at 12:30pm asking to make a booking in around 30 minutes, so for 1pm. And they say sure etc, no issues. They take our details for incase anyone has the virus, so they have means to contact us, and that’s that.
We also went there the day prior to this. Saturday, and everything was operated smoothly, no issues, as how we’re usually treated at this specific restaurant.
On Sunday, we must’ve arrived there a few minutes early. It looked like a ghost town, there were only 2/3 people sitting at one table. So we walk in as usual and right off the bat, before we could even breathe, the ‘manager’ who we virtually have never seen this specific guy, says sharply without a smile in sight, “Have you booked?”
So my partner says yes, it’s under *name inserted here*. So then the manager looks through the book and says…
“No there’s no name here,”. Now, you should’ve seen the restaurant, it’s quite large and it’s the quietest I’ve ever seen it. So my partner replies, “I rang half an hour ago to make a booking for 1pm and the person confirmed it,” So the manager interjects and said, “Well that’s impossible because I’ve been here all morning and that booking was never made. You must’ve called a different branch,” My partner replies, “No, I’m positive I rang this branch, I came here yesterday, and I rang the same number,” The manager repeated, “I can guarantee you must’ve called a different one because I’ve been here all day mate, but as you can see, we’re not busy so you can pick a table, and I’ll arrange to take your details,” Like he was doing us a favour, correcting our “mistake”…
Whilst this whole debacle happened, the manager spoke quite loudly, seemingly purposefully, so that he could try and embarrass us in front of the 2/3 people that were dining in. As he acted very shirty, and it honestly felt like he really didn’t want us there. Reason? Who knows, but I can only think of one…
When we sat down at a table, I said to my partner that we should eat elsewhere as it’s crystal clear that he doesn’t really want us dining here. Secondly, the atmosphere is very apparent. And lastly, why would you want to give this person and organisation your money?
But my partner takes a menu and is quite adamant on staying.
So I just look towards the manager, examining his body language is quite stand offish and awkward, then I look at my partner on the phone ringing someone, and I hear the restaurant phone ringing too, so I work out that he’s ringing the restaurant to prove, he called this specific branch. So the manager answered right in front of his eyes, unaware that it was him calling. The manager laughs it off then returns to our table and repeats himself like he’s a broken record saying, “I can assure you you didn’t ring me,” then my partner says, “It was a woman I spoke to.”.
I overhear the manager asking the women working there, the way he asks them is a completely different manner from how he’s spoken to us since we walked in. Softly, he asks them and they say they hadn’t taken a call, denying it at all costs. Clearly lying as this whole situation as escalated to such a significant issue, how would they now backtrack and say, “Oh actually I did take the call?”. And make them all look like fools? So my partner shows him that he rang the correct number, and the manager is not backing down at all, and just trying to downplay the facts, and be hell-bent of accusing us that it’s our error. No apology or anything in sight, but he know’s he’s embarrassed himself he just says, he’ll leave the menu there, and if and we want to order, he’ll be back.
I reiterate that we shouldn’t eat here, it’s clear in how the manager has behaved, let’s eat somewhere else that actually deserves the money. And the dining experience will be much better. So he agrees, whilst grinding his teeth. So on my way out I say, “There’s a reason why it’s so empty in here,” aimed at the manager. Then on we went. It left a bitter taste in our mouths, especially my partners.
This isn’t the first time we’ve been ill-treated in a restaurant. But I’d say this has the be the worst experience, as the manager’s behaviour was so evident, it left you feeling somewhat belittled, as that was his intention all along. He made no effort at all to backtrack or try and ease what should have been a minuscule issue, that his staff caused. It’s like you’re unable to dine at a restaurant of your choice because they don’t want you there and try to find any excuse not to have you dine there. And remember, we’ve been going to that restaurant for years with no issues. Meaning that specific guy, made his feelings blatant, and took it upon himself to basically say, you must be in the wrong restaurant. Leaving no room for maybe himself (manager) got it wrong, or maybe the staff did, but we’re in the wrong no hesitation about it.
His attitude as soon as we walked in and the look on his face was like, we must’ve been mistaken for walking in, and we’ve come to the wrong place.
Why was he so unwelcoming? Why was he so blunt? How was he sure he wasn’t mistaken? Why did this even amount to such a colossal, extensive issue? The venue was basically empty, but why was it such a personal issue for the manager to keep repeating, he’s right and we must be wrong, but like he’ll do us a favour, unwillingly? In a normal restaurant, even if a booking isn’t down but the customer made one, the staff would just say oh we don’t have anything down, our mistake, but don’t worry you can sit anywhere. Why did he feel like he had to cement his view with no evidence of facts that we MUST have called elsewhere? Why was he so standoffish from the moment we walked in? The only one thing I can think off is how we look.
What else would someone judge you off? I saw the gentle manner he spoke to the staff working there with, so why was his manner and behaviour polar opposite to us?
Upon walking out, I noticed two other people on a table that must’ve walked in when this fiasco happened, and I didn’t even hear them walk in. Or anyone checking their details or so forth. Meaning they were sat down and welcomed smoothly and quietly, nothing like the vile, piggish behaviour we were greeted with.
What would you put this experience down to? Why was the manager leaving no room for the possibility that he was wrong? Why was he so blatantly rude in his manner? Why raise his voice throughout this whole interaction? Why couldn’t we have rang that branch? Why do we have to be the ones that are mistaken without question? How would you have acted in that situation? Would you have carried on dining there? Comment below!
Side-note: This happened without the manager or any of his staff using face masks or PPE.