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back to article Brighton marathon munchers banned from all-you-can-eat diner

A couple of voracious Brighton blokes have been banned for life from an all-you-can-eat Mongolian barbecue chow-house - after repeated attacks on the restaurant's buffet station threatened to eat the owner out of business. For two years, George Dalmon and Andy Miles, both 26, enthusiastically took up GOBi's offer to "repeat as …

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Anonymous Coward

Fair usage policy applies.

But no so fair that we'll tell you in advance what it is.

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WTF?

Re: Fair usage policy applies.

"Fair usage policy applies.

But no so fair that we'll tell you in advance what it is."

They don't have to. It's a business and the business CHOOSES to do business with customers. It's not obliged to do so.

It's not obliged to put limits on that consent at outset, no more than a customer has to say how much they intend to eat before being allowed in. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, and the business should have the same recourse to withdraw their custom as the customer has.

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Anonymous Coward

How about discrimination?

I disagree Psyx,

A business has to treat it's clients equally otherwise it is liable to be accused of discrimination.

The Telcos offer 'unlimited', but then they do have fair use policy etc. By publishing this policy ahead of time, they are basically stating that it applies to all their customers equally and also enable people to make a judgement on whether to join them before purchasing.

If this all-you-can-eat-restaurant did not have a fair usage policy in place, then they cannot complain that people took advantage of them.

Now if they have put a policy in place, informed their clients of this new policy and then these two continued to eat 'too much', then the owners would have been in their full rights to refuse them service.

Because there could have been other better outcomes:

1) The restaurant implement a fair usage policy, tell their clients, these two heed it and start eating less.

2) The restaurant implement a fair usage policy, tell their clients, these two decide that they no longer want to eat at this restaurant as the fair usage policy is not to their liking and take their business else where.

In both of the above examples nobody gets kicked out and nobody is banned for life. People just freely make decisions based on information available to them.

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Nope - Psyx was right

The owners of the restaurant have every right to withdraw custom and deny entry - but not half way through a meal because at that point a bargain has already been made. The bargain does NOT continue every day without qualification from now until kingdom come, only on that day, when the customer sits down and starts noshing.

The restaurant is private property (1) and the proprietors are offering a limited service with conditions (2) which they are entitled to change for any casual, walk-in customer BEFORE he becomes an actual customer.

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Re: How about discrimination?

Who's to say they're not treating their customers equally? These two were pigging out, so unless you're saying they were discriminated against because they're hogs, I don't see there's a case to answer.

I'd be interested to see how you choose to implement a 'fair use' policy, seems easy to say there should be one, harder to work out practical details I think.

People do abuse EAMAYL buffets, and I can remember something on usemet that described how to pack as much salad as possible into the small bowls offered by a well known restaurant chain. Hint, use celery sticks lined with lettuce to extend the walls of the bowl....

All I can say is that perhaps these guys could have been given a verbal warning and then banned when they chose to ignore it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How about discrimination?

"A business has to treat it's (sic) clients equally otherwise it is liable to be accused of discrimination."

I'm sorry, but "making shit up" isn't how the law works, despite occasional appearances to the contrary. Parties to a contract generally have clearcut options to terminate.

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Re: How about discrimination?

If the sign said "Mongolian all you can eat" wouldn't that exclude all non-Mongolians?

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Re: How about discrimination?

"A business has to treat it's clients equally otherwise it is liable to be accused of discrimination."

Tosh.

No it doesn't. It chooses to do business, and it can choose what terms (if any) to do that business.

Let's take the IT angle:

Have you had vendors decline trade, or not placed bids? Have you ever got a discount for buying hardware or software in bulk? Have you ever wrangled freebies? Have you ever negotiated a price?

Of course you have, and all of those are examples of businesses benefiting by NOT treating customers equally. This is not discrimination: This is business.

"If this all-you-can-eat-restaurant did not have a fair usage policy in place, then they cannot complain that people took advantage of them."

They aren't: They're simply refusing the custom in future. It's the fat bastards who can't take advantage who are complaining.

"Now if they have put a policy in place, informed their clients of this new policy and then these two continued to eat 'too much', then the owners would have been in their full rights to refuse them service."

It's private property. A private business. Frankly the owners are well within their rights to tell any customer to get the hell out at any time. Shops, restaurants, cinemas are not obliged to deal with you, me, or anyone. Obviously they'd like to have our money, but when we as a customer become a liability, they are not contractually required to maintain any form of business relationship with us.

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Holmes

Re: Nope - Psyx was right

"(2) which they are entitled to change for any casual, walk-in customer BEFORE he becomes an actual customer."

They don't even have to do that. Try walking into a restaurant, getting half way through your meal and then dancing on the tables and you will discover that they are quite entitled to tell you to sod off there and then!

Additionally, the article or punters never claimed that they were kicked out mid meal, banned mid-meal, or kicked out at all. They were simply banned. If you listen to the gaps *between* the aggrieved party's words, it's entirely possible that they were simply charged as normal and told never to come back, and are just putting their slant on things and letting people keen to side with them jump to the conclusion that they were kicked out half-way through.

The customer is not always right. Sometimes the customer is a prick and should be told to go away and bother someone else.

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Re: Nope - Psyx was right

Indeed. And "between the 5th and 6th helping" is not "half-way through" your meal ;)

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Stop

Re: Fair usage policy applies.

If you're advertising as an "all you can eat" place, yet you deny service to customers who, quote, "eat more than their fair share", that's false advertising. The same applies to the owner's complaint about their not paying the "optional" service charge.

If their manners were a problem, he should have said so. If two guys, who pay £12 per meal, presumably made of nothing too expensive, can really eat him out of business, as he says, then his business has a serious problem. Either way, he's going about it the wrong way.

As it is, they should report the business for false advertising and sue the owner for calling them pigs in public.

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Headmaster

Re: Nope - Psyx was right - @ kraut

Depends on how many helpings you had in your meal, doesn't it? If you had ten helpings in total that would be exactly half-way through (assuming a steady rate of troughing, and we're not counting the wafer-thin mint as a helping...)

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Re: Nope - Psyx was right

Exactly, so under your very own condition the restaurant broke the deal.

Sure, a business can refuse service to anyone prior to actually starting the service. But said restaurant owner kicked the customers out as they were there and humiliated them in front of everyone ... for the sole "guilt" of following the restaurant's offer.

The way to act would be that the next time the undesired customer comes in, you greet him and say "sorry, but we reserve the right to choose our clientele and from now on we refuse to serve you". Kicking them out from their table after the fact (and after two years!) is rude and bad for business. A respectable business should have a little more diplomacy even in an adverse situation (or especially in an adverse situation).

Honestly, I can't see a situation where such behavior from the restaurant manager would be acceptable way of doing business.

If there's an undesirable customer - act as described above.

But personally (as a business owner) in the situation described in the article, I would have attempted long before to talk to them and try to help them understand my position and ask them to take it easier on the servings - or ban them calmly beforehand. A regular customer is a sure way of income, having unwritten rules and hinting them to customers is ok, denying service is also ok but the whole behavior issue is not.

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Facepalm

Re: Nope - Psyx was right

The restaurant owner's mistake was in not clearly defining the reason for his dismissing the contract. If it was on the grounds of inappropriate behavior (pushing, rudeness etc) then he is well within his rights. On the other hand, if it is because the customers have eaten more than he believes they should then he could have an issue since the invitation was to 'eat as much as you want'. I guess the final outcome depends on whether or not he took money from them. If he didn't charge them then the argument would be that there was no contract; if he did charge them then i guess they have a legitimate claim for breach of contract. I think they might be on sticky ground trying for slander on the grounds that he called them greedy pigs since it does sound like this could be a legitimate claim.

Whatever the final outcome - it's not a great advert for his business.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How about discrimination?

"Shops, restaurants, cinemas are not obliged to deal with you, me, or anyone. Obviously they'd like to have our money, but when we as a customer become a liability, they are not contractually required to maintain any form of business relationship with us."

And yet for most people on these forums applying the same logic to vendors of entertainment would be unthinkable.

'Refusing to sell an entertainment product in my country or doing so at a price I deem unfairly high? I'm going to take it anyway! Access to entertainment is part of my human rights or something!'

Idiots.

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Facepalm

Re: Fair usage policy applies.

You, sir*, are living proof of the decline of civilisation.

* or madam, or wrapping for a conundrum.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nope - Psyx was right @austerusz

> But said restaurant owner kicked the customers out as they were there...

Stop making shit up.

Said restaurant told them never to come back. At no point in either this article or the linked to article does it say anything about the restaurant asking them to leave immediately. Since the story would be more of a story had the manager thrown them out during the meal it is a reasonable assumption that this did not happen.

> The way to act would be that the next time the undesired customer comes in, you greet him and say "sorry, but we reserve the right to choose our clientele and from now on we refuse to serve you".

No, it would not because: 1. The two people might travel several miles just to go to that restaurant. 2. Denying them entry at that point would be more likely to result in an argument (hungry people are more argumentative). 3. Banning people is a managerial task and the next time they went to the restaurant the manager might not be available.

> Kicking them out from their table after the fact..

This never happened.

> Honestly, I can't see a situation where such behavior from the restaurant manager would be acceptable way of doing business.

There was nothing wrong with the managers behaviour.

> But personally (as a business owner) in the situation described in the article, I would have attempted long before to talk to them and try to help them understand...

I doubt that you are a business owner or that if you are it is anything more than a one man service company.

Nearly all of the general public are reasonable people but if you deal with them on a daily basis you will come across the minority who quite simply will never see anybodies point of view other than their own. "Talking" to them in the manner you describe will either result in a long drawn out argument in front of other customers or an agreement not to eat so much followed by them doing just that the next time they enter the restaurant.

> A regular customer is a sure way of income, having unwritten rules and hinting them to customers is ok, denying service is also ok but the whole behavior issue is not.

Not these two. Their behaviour was resulting in a poorer service for other customers (dishes unavailable due to the pair having emptied them) and probably a net loss due to the quantity they ate. It is no good saying they should have prepared more because on the days the two blokes did not visit the restaurant there would be to much wastage.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nope - Psyx was right

Radio2 interviewed both the guys and the owner yesterday and what's missing from the summary here is that th owner claims it was not because they ate too much but because of their rude behaviour. He said they have people that eat more than these two.

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FAIL

Re: Fair usage policy applies.

"If you're advertising as an "all you can eat" place, yet you deny service to customers who, quote, "eat more than their fair share", that's false advertising. "

No it's not. At all. It's just the restaurant is using a selection process in order to decide who they want custom with: They're saying *you* can have all you can eat, but *you* can't. Just as you - the customer - select who you want to do business with. People need to get past this notion that businesses are beholden to us and we have 'Rights [TM]' that they don't have.

ie: Let's say that I work for a company that has a 7-day return policy and a customer abuses it by repeatedly ordering expensive stuff, using it for 5 days and then returning it: Essentially using us as a free rental service. Do we have to keep providing them with the service, or is it 'false advertising' to say "go away and never order anything from us again". I'll give you a clue: We are perfectly entitled to do so and it's not a breach of advertising, either. Because the offer still applies to anyone we CHOOSE to do business with. We are under no contract with the rest of the planet.

"If their manners were a problem, he should have said so."

How do you know he didn't: You've only got the word of the two complainants that he didn't. Oh... and look:: The BBC article today cites the restaurant as saying that their manners WERE the problem.

"As it is, they should report the business for false advertising and sue the owner for calling them pigs in public."

Reel in that false sense of entitlement. And learn your rights as a customer. And way to go on your ethics of freedom of speeech and freedom of expression as well. MUUUUUMM: He called me a name, so I'm going to sue him for monnnneeeeyyy...

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Stop

Re: Nope - Psyx was right

"But said restaurant owner kicked the customers out as they were there and humiliated them in front of everyone ... for the sole "guilt" of following the restaurant's offer."

*According to their side of the story*. Which also omits telling us if:

They were kicked out there and then, or merely banned in future.

They were acting like rude obnoxious dickheads [which they were according to the restaurant, as per the BBC article].

They paid.

They were informed that they were banned at the end of their meal, or mid-way through

If other customers had complained

If they were drunk

et cetera.

I'm pretty sure I could take the side of anyone, if I only listened to their aggrieved side of the story, too.

And as a business owner, I wouldn't have bothered having a protracted conversation. Good, loyal customers are good for business. Shit customers are piss-taking wankers who don't care about you or your business. It's pretty clear who the later group were, and one of the joys of running one's own business is being able to decide "Actually, no: I'm not putting up with this crap, just because it's polite and beneficial to them to do so."

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Joke

Ts&Cs

Always read the fair use policy.

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Re: Ts&Cs

The issue is not that the people were denied, that is acceptable. The issue is the advertising of "all you can eat" when it is non-obviously untrue.

Advertise, "up to three bowls" if that's what you mean.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ts&Cs

> The issue is the advertising of "all you can eat" when it is non-obviously untrue.

It is true. On every occasion the pair went to the restaurant they were allowed to eat all they could.

The restaurant never limited the food.

The restaurant simply exercised its rights as to who it wanted to do business with.

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Anonymous Coward

Possibly a poor plan to set this up in a student town. Oxford used to have a Mongolian all you can eat joint too but that one got eaten out of business.

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Was that the Mongolian Wok? Great place ...

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fairy snuff

going to an all you can eat buffet one should play ball and purchase a token, overpriced, watered down coke.

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Linux

Re: fairy snuff

"one should play ball and purchase a token, overpriced, watered down coke." -- It tastes better watered down anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

durham had one too

not mongolian, chinese, i think it was the discovery that the chicken chow-mein was seagull chow mein that put it out of business....

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Trollface

Re: durham had one too

Why? What's wrong with seagull? Is it not equally as nutritious?

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Re: durham had one too

Perhaps seagull is too much like cormorant. Google "how to cook a cormorant"...

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Re: durham had one too

I think you will find it was the undercooked eggs dripping with salmonella that actually finished it off (the first time)

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Re: durham had one too

Hahaha that's right! Was that Lau's Buffet King on North Road nr Milburngate?

There were a few cases of food poisoning that we figured must have been from that place.

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"Mongolian All You Can Eat Buffets", eh?

My, how the country has changed.

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Anonymous Coward

Were they Android owners? it seems they take great delight in ignoring T&Cs, tethering and destroying fair use policies.

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

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Trollface

Subtle.

NOT!* :-)

*Sorry, I watched Wayne's World last weekend. :-/

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Flame

Go away fanboi

This article bears no relation whatsoever to the subject of mobile OSs, and your holy war is not welcome here.

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No, they were iPhone 5 users looking for an excuse to post pointless drivel on a forum about a buffet. Perhaps you know \ are them.

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Coat

Brighton marathon munchers?

Brighton snickers munchers surely?

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WTF?

Service Charge?

As these restaurants are self service why pay a service charge?

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Re: Service Charge?

Your drinks don't serve themselves, you don't seat yourselves or hang your own coat, et al.

I wouldn't cough 15%, but I'd certainly pay some gratuity.

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Service Charges generasly

many a time I've been queuing at "the bar" and its a long wait either because they are busy, or theres no-one there at all. I'm staring at the pump for my lager of choice thinking I could have served myself ten times over by now. but i have to wait

same for seating and coat hanging , i'm quite capable of sorting that out quicker and better myself.

I'd pay a service charge TO DO IT MYSELF!

"yes sir for a £2 tip you can avoid the queue and pull your own pints" - brilliant

That or just put vending machines in.

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Used to be a pub halfway between Aberystwyth and Devil's Bridge

where you could pay for a pint, get a glass and help self from a selection of barrels. Used to have a nice cider on too. It relied on honesty that you took what you paid for and I think most folk were honest.

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@mark 63

'I'd pay a service charge TO DO IT MYSELF!'

I'm in the Czech Republic at the moment and some bars here have Pumps built into the tables so you just pour your own beers without even having to get up. You just pay for however many litres you poured when you leave.

One bar in Brno goes a step further and has flatscreens on all the walls showing a leaderboard of how many litres each table has poured.. That is a bit lethal though, as you go in for a quick pint and end up in a marathon drinking competition with an entire pub full of Czechs!

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Trollface

Re: I could have served myself ten times over by now. but i have to wait

Oh no! You have to wait! It's one thing when there's no one there, but when there's other people "in front of you" at "the bar"! Don't they know who you are?

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Happy

Re: @mark 63

Alpha Tony - litres LOL. Bloody metric! ;)

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Re: @mark 63

[...] flatscreens on all the walls showing a leaderboard of how many litres each table has poured [...]

Finally, IT and competitive drinking brought together beautifully. This is without a doubt the best idea for IT implementation in a Leisure Retail environment I've heard in months (and you'd be surprised how many I actually hear.)

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Re: Test Man

Ever seen a Liter glass? Bigger than a pint :D

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Re: @mark 63

Alpha,

I've been there - "The Pub", right? Stonking place. Decent nosh too. The true genius is that the screens occasionally update to show your table's ranking on the national leaderboard. I was there one night with clients when our table got into a race for first with some crowd in Prague... The stagger back to Hotel Continental was fun...

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