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A customer left a negative comment on TripAdvisor about Bennetts Cafe and Bistro in York, England. The restaurant owner replied back with an explanation of how a business operates.

The post on TripAdvisor has since been taken down.

The following is the customer's comment, followed by the restaurant manager's reply:

Manager's Reply:

"Im sorry that you feel that you were ripped off and Ill try to explain why you werent. You entered the cafe and the waiter showed you to your seat, gave you a menu, waited for a time and then took your order. He entered it into the till, collected a cup, saucer and spoon and took them into the kitchen.

There, he selected a knife, chopping board, got a lemon from the fridge, cut off a slice and put it in the cup. Then, he returned to the dining room, drew off the necessary hot water and carried the cup to your table. When you were leaving, he printed off your bill, took it to you, processed your credit card payment and cashed off the till. After you left, he cleared away your cup, saucer and spoon, took them into the kitchen, washed and dried them, along with the chopping board and knife and put away the lemon.

Then, returning to the dining room he restacked the cup, saucer and spoon, wiped down your table and replaced the menu, awaiting the next customer. Thats at least 2-3 minutes work for the waiter. 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 have to pay my suppliers otherwise the facilities wont be available to other people who use them in the future. I accept that it makes the price of a cuppa in a city centre cafe look expensive compared to the one you make at home but unfortunately thats the cruel reality of life. Its actually the facilities that cost the money, far more so than the ingredients.

Perhaps, the rudeness that you perceived in me was triggered by the disrespect that I perceived in you by your presumption that you could use our facilities and be waited on for free."

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