A YORK business owner has been praised by restaurant critic Jay Rayner for his response to a customer who complained on TripAdvisor.
Bennett's Cafe & Bistro in High Petergate - which has an overall rating of excellent - was rated as terrible by a customer who said the cafe was overpriced and the service poor.
She said she was disgruntled to have been charged £2 for hot water and a slice of lemon as she was on a tight budget.
The woman named Hannah C, from North Yorkshire, said: When I asked why I was being charged so much for some water the waiter rudely said "well, do you know how much a lemon costs?" Yes, its definitely not £2.
"He then went on to wrongly inform me that a 'pot of tea for one' (which is what I was charged for) is the same price as a lemon. To show just how ridiculous this is, my friend ordered a slice of chocolate cake which was £1.90.
"Dreadful place, would definitely not recommend, and the rude waiter that served me should be sacked. I will not be returning and will be advising friends and family not to go there."
But in an amusingly detailed response, manager Mike Fisher explained the precise overheads faced by the catering industry.
He said: "I’m sorry that you feel that you were “ripped off” and I’ll try to explain why you weren’t."
Mr Fisher then went on to explain the time given to serving the customers, preparing the drink and the bill and clearing the table He said: "The cost of overheads for the business, i.e rent, business rates, electricity costs, bank charges, etc works out at £27.50 per hour of trading.
"I pay my colleagues a decent living wage and after taking into account holiday pay, national insurance and non-productive time prior to opening and after closing, the waiter who served you costs me £12.50 per hour.
"Therefore, together the cost is £40 per hour or 67p per minute, meaning that the cost of providing you with 2-3 minutes of service was £1.34 - £2.00.
"Then the government add on VAT at 20% which takes the cost of that cup of fruit infusion to between £1.60 and £2.40 irrespective of whether you had a teabag costing one and a half pence or a slice of lemon costing five pence...
"I accept that it makes the price of a cuppa in the city centre look more expensive than the one you would have had at home but that's the cruel reality of life. It's actually the facilities that cost the money, far more than the ingredients.
"Perhaps the rudeness you perceived in me was triggered by the disrespect that I perceived in you by the presumption that you could use our facilities and be waited on for free."
In a post that has been shared more than a thousand times, Jay Rayner tweeted the link, adding: "For those who don't understand how restaurant overheads work, a great Trip Advisor response".
Speaking about the attention given to his comeback, Mr Fisher said he was surprised but said he was keen to make the point that a small percentage of people "expect something for nothing" when the realities of running a business in the city centre - competing with out of town shopping centres and recently the floods, as well as high overheads - can be a challenge.