From winning gold at the Olympics, to becoming the first British man to win a grand slam since 1936 – it’s been a busy summer for Andy Murray. And such success should surely be rewarded with a big celebration. Well, that was certainly true for Andy and his 30-strong entourage who managed to eat and drink their way through $6448.00 worth of goodies at swanky Manhattan restaurant Hakkasan. Luckily for Andy, the restaurant agreed to waive most of the bill, leaving him with a ‘modest’ tab of $1289.00 to pick up.
Photographs of the discounted bill have swamped the internet (…reportedly it was Andy drinking the Lemon Soda). So too has the comment made by one of the restaurant’s servers about its reduction; he said: “They do that all the time. For them, it’s just good publicity”. Now, the circulation of the bill may have been a publicity stunt, designed deliberately by Hakkasan to showcase its premier clientele. Equally, however, the photograph may have been created and disseminated without the employer’s knowledge and it raises some interesting issues for employers, especially in the restaurant industry.
Assuming it was done without consent, it would be a breach of confidentiality and likely to be hugely embarrassing for Hakkasan – potentially damaging the relationship between the restaurant and its patrons. Would you fancy eating somewhere if you thought the staff might upload photographs of your bill…or worse, of you?
This tale is a useful reminder to restaurateurs to ensure that their contracts and policies are clear about the standards of behaviour that they expect from their staff. Specifically, the ways in which staff should interact with customers ought to be clearly spelt out. For example, make it known that asking for a tip is not acceptable. By having clear policies it makes it far easier for employers to deal with issues if they arise – if an employee’s behaviour slips, appropriate disciplinary action can be taken.
The Hakkasan incident also highlights how important it is for employers to have adequate internet/social media policies in place. A policy which allows sensible use but makes it known what is not acceptable on-line should help prevent employers being faced with embarrassing escapades.
And, if you’re expecting the rich and famous to be dining in your restaurant, consider novel approaches to protect your customers. One possibility might be to ask staff to sign non-disclosure agreements, preventing them from discussing things like who’s been in, what they’ve been eating….and how much they paid for it.