Restaurant’s brutal customer smackdown
One of the country's favourite burger chains has hit back at entitled "Karens" as the hospitality industry reels from the coronavirus crisis.
In recent years, Milky Lane has emerged as one of Australia's most popular and Instagrammable eateries, with snaps of its famously indulgent burgers, loaded fries, "epic desserts" and shakes flooding foodies and influencers' social media feeds.
It has also been a hit with celebs including Ed Sheeran and Post Malone.
There are currently nine branches across NSW, Queensland and the ACT, although the brand has been closed to diners since the COVID-19 lockdown was rolled out in March.
Now, as the industry prepares to welcome back customers as restrictions ease, the company has issued a stern warning as it grapples with tough new social distancing rules and plunging revenue.
Taking to Facebook ahead of NSW entering Stage 2 on June 1, which will allow 50 patrons at a time inside venues for the first time in months, the business said "it's important to remember one thing".
"If you walk into OUR restaurant, someone else's or any commercial premise and you see some mistakes, DON'T reach for your phone to record it all or take some pics to upload to social media," the post reads.
"Ask for the owner. Get Karen to speak to the manager. Let a supervisor or your wait staff member know that something is wrong. Don't leave a horrible review, reach out so we can fix it.
"We've gone above and beyond to stay afloat during COVID-19 and are so excited to see you all again, re-employ our staff and create experiences together."
The company said "we have to help each other out as this is new territory for EVERYONE" but added "we're doing our best to navigate through it together" and that "good times are just around the corner".
The post attracted an outpouring of support form fans who slammed the all-too-common habit of customers complaining on social media first before communicating with staff, which can have a devastating impact on a business's reputation - and bottom line.
"The most annoying thing is the people that whinge have only seen 10 minutes of your day.
They don't know that you've been working since the early morning to make everything look good, helping your staff when they are feeling down and being talked to rudely by other customers that take their problems of the world out on you. It's hard times," one Facebook user wrote, while another added: "All these people who get their phones out first and post it straight to social media without bothering to speak to the parties concerned first, really get on my nerves!"
It comes as a string of other venues have spoken out recently to condemn no-shows who have failed to cancel bookings, which has been especially damaging during Stage 1 where restaurants, cafes and bars have been forced to seat just 10 people at a time.
Last Thursday, iconic Sydney Italian restaurant Beppi's revealed on Facebook a table of six hadn't turned up for their reservation, which cost "60 per cent of our revenue".
And on May 16, Sydney cocktail bar Low 302 made headlines after it similarly slammed a group that did not turn up for their booking just one day after restrictions eased, which meant others on the waitlist missed out.
"You didn't have the common courtesy to call us up and cancel," furious owner Aref Jaroud posted on Facebook.
"Maybe you have no idea the financial impact this has on a restaurant right now. Maybe you don't care.
"You have single-handedly set the worst of precedence for our entire industry at this most difficult time."
Originally published as Restaurant's brutal customer smackdown