The Laundrette in Manchester has defended itself after it charged a customer £60 for not showing up and refused to refund the money.
The pizza and cocktail venue, located in Chorlton, is currently the city’s top-rated restaurant out of 1,700 on TripAdvisor with most reviews rating it “excellent”.
Taking to the website last week, user Lauren B said she had a “really disappointing” experience with the restaurant after some of her family members, including her 82-year-old grandma, fell ill with Covid-19.
“Not only was I worried for her health but also was being told to go into work to cover for my head chef who had tested positive too,” the user, who works in the hospitality industry herself, wrote.
“I thought I had cancelled the booking on the email link, but I was later charged £60 on my card by Laundrette.
“In the chaos of checking in with my grandma regarding her health, having to go into work on my only day off, and worrying about the consequences of my head chef having to be off for 10 days when I work in an incredibly small kitchen team to start with, I may have forgotten to cancel, I genuinely am not sure,” she explained.
She claimed to have written an email to the restaurant explaining the circumstances and asking for a refund but had not heard back.
“I completely understand the annoyance of having a table no show, we’ve had it constantly throughout Covid-19. But at my restaurant we wouldn’t bill the card payer.”
She said that while she understands “it’s unprecedented times for everyone at the moment, especially the hospitality industry”, she asked the business to consider “human error and genuine mistakes”.
Responding to the review on Monday 17 January, the restaurant’s public relations manager said not showing up to a booking is “detrimental” to small businesses, and that the booked table had sat empty for two hours.
“Regrettably you didn’t cancel your booking. This is why you were charged,” a spokesperson wrote.
“As you mentioned, you work in the industry so you should know way more than most how detrimental tables not showing up is for small businesses.
“Not showing up for restaurant bookings is an extremely rude and disgusting practice. We hate charging no shows but it’s the only way to protect ourselves,” they added.
The Independent has contacted The Laundrette and the review poster but has not received a response.
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