All was rosy and sweet for Laura Goodman and Michael Gale of Carlini, the newly opened restaurant in Albrighton, Shropshire.
They invested £200,000 into it, and by all accounts, it was doing extremely well with 4.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor:
And some outstanding reviews:
But then something went wrong.
It seems that Laura, the chef and part owner of the restaurant had got fed up with one particular customer, who happened to also be a vegan.
So, as many of us do, she decided to vent her frustration on Facebook.
Now, if you or I were to post something a little bit risque in a social media group, we might get away with it being “funny”, but here's what Laura posted in a group with just under 20K members:
She also posted this:
The fury levelled at her was swift and brutal, because it seems, although it's not confirmed, that she put meat into a vegan's food.
Of course, she had a reason to:
And then it got worse…
This, of course, led to people calling for the restaurant to be closed down.
Well, when food is advertised as vegan or vegetarian, then you don't expect there to be meat in it, and it's not just because it might upset someone.
Some people are intolerant or even allergic to meat products, and it could end up causing a medical problem, and here was a chef boasting that she'd done something most un-chef-like.
So people took to the Internet and let rip, here are some Google reviews:
And then others went to TripAdvisor, at one point knocking its 4.5 star rating down to just one. However, the website stopped any more reviews being posted and instead displayed the following:
How bad can it get?
What we all have to remember here is that the web is full of people with a vindictive nature who love to heap revenge on anyone they can. It's a place full of keyboard warriors.
Within a day of making the post, Laura received death threats via Facebook Messenger, something the police will take extremely seriously. In fact, it has resulted in arrests and even jail in recent years.
But it also means the woes are not over for the restaurant.
Having received complaints from the public, Shropshire Council's regulatory services are now taking it seriously, too. They said: “We have received complaints in relation to this matter and are currently investigating. We’re therefore unable to comment further at this time.”
The lessons we can learn from this
If you have a business of any kind, then you need to remember that your own personal views are linked to it.
Whatever you post on any social media platform, you could end up affecting your business and its employees, with far-reaching ramifications.
Be extremely careful about what you post and what opinions you express.
If you complain about customers, make insensitive comments or promote unpopular beliefs, you may well end up having to fight off a storm of protests which could eventually lead to a loss of profits or even your livelihood.