Café owner is forced to close her store and leave a heartbreaking note after staff were left in tears over furious customer’s rant about a bowl of rice
- A cafe has been forced to shut down after a customer abused staff members
- The man was furious the Melbourne eatery did not have their usual blue rice
- Bob’s Your Uncle cafe said they made the call to close on mental health grounds
A popular Melbourne cafe has been forced to close its doors after an abusive customer left its hard-working staff in tears over a bowl of rice.
Bob’s Your Uncle Cafe in Doncaster East put a sign in their window revealing the decision to shutdown was made to support the mental health of its workers.
‘Dear customers. Due to excessive abuse from a customer today we have made the decision to close to support the mental health of our team and owner,’ the note read.
‘Sorry for the inconvenience this may cause you.’
A tearful employee later posted a video message to Instagram outlining what happened.
Bob’s Your Uncle Cafe (pictured) was forced to close its doors after an abusive customer left the eatery’s hard-working staff in tears
‘We have just been attacked by a customer because we only had white rice on the nourish bowl instead of it being blue,’ she said.
‘That’s because of the pandemic. We can’t get any in. But they were screaming and very verbally aggressive.
‘Unfortunately we now have three staff members in tears and we won’t be opening for the remainder of the day.’
On the cafe’s Facebook page they reminded everyone to be kind to hospitality workers, who have been repeatedly targeted by angry customers during the coronavirus crisis.
‘We have encountered this type of abuse every day since reopening over minor things like our rice being white and not butterfly pea colour,’ the post read.
‘Today’s situation broke us and we are needing today to reflect and rebuild. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you and we hope for your continued support.’
On the cafe’s Facebook page they reminded everyone to be kind to hospitality workers, who’ve suffered greatly during the coronavirus crisis
Cafe owner Lisa Bilston told 3AW the spat over the rice got ‘very ugly’ and she thought she was going to have to call the police.
Ms Bilston, who has worked in the industry for almost four decades, said customer aggression has become ‘much worse’ in the wake of the pandemic – with a number of cafe-goers refusing to wear masks.
‘I think COVID has a bit to do with it, I think everyone has had restrictions on them; they now want to come out, they don’t want restrictions they want to dictate to us,’ she said.
A tearful employee later posted a video message to Instagram outlining what happened
But even before coronavirus took hold, the hospitality veteran said regular abuse is commonplace.
On one occasion Ms Bilston revealed she was punched in the face by a customer who swore at a barista.
‘In hospitality there has always been aggression, mental health (problems) are huge, it just needs to change,’ she said.
‘We just need to start changing it, because our young staff aren’t going to cope.’
Since Thursday’s incident, Bob’s Your Uncle has been inundated with messages of support on social media.
‘What disgraceful behaviour. I feel for you,’ one person wrote.
Others said they were ‘disgusted by the disgruntled customer’s behaviour.
‘What is wrong with people? Be respectful, be kind. Treat others like you would like to be treated. I’m sorry this has happened. It’s never warranted,’ a Facebook user commented.
Another said: ‘This news has caused me to cry a bucket of tears. We should all be showing gratitude for the small pleasures we are now able to enjoy again.’
‘I hope you’re all okay and that you realise that the rest of us support you and love your food and service.’
Since Thursday’s incident, Bob’s Your Uncle (pictured) has been inundated with messages of support on social media