Restaurant manager calls out wealthy diners who mocked her wage: 'Degraded'

·News Reporter
·3-min read

A restaurant manager is calling out a group of wealthy diners who she claims "humiliated" her by mocking her hospitality wage.

Lily O'Connor, who works at Cora restaurant in Cardiff, Wales, says she served the six men from a top UK law firm for three hours last week, during which she alleges they "disrespected" and "degraded" her.

The 22-year-old said one man in particular, who she claims threw inappropriate comments at her all night, was to blame.

"He used humiliating tactics, trying to degrade me for the job I love doing. He was saying: 'How do you make a living?' at this and 'Why don't you work seven nights a week?'" she told Daily Mail.

Lily O'Conner restaurant manger.
The 22-year-old said she was mocked and humiliated for her low-wage job as a restaurant manager. Source: Facebook

In the UK, the average full-time salary for a hospitality worker is the equivalent of roughly A$33,000. For casuals, the hourly rate is age-dependent, so for 22-year-olds like Ms O'Conner, it's the equivalent of roughly A$15 per hour, gov.uk states.

Ms O'Connor said the man in question's remarks were "upsetting", and although she held it together for the entire meal, she later ended up in tears.

"I was even told to 'stick my schnoz in that' after they complained about one of the wines I served them over the seven-course tasting menu," she told the publication.

Restaurant owner defends staff

In total, the group of six spent A$1743 — the largest bill since the restaurant opened in January, the restaurant's owner Lee Skeet said in an "angry" Twitter post following the reported incident.

Despite this, Mr Skeet said he was furious about the way Ms O'Conner, who he describes as a "brilliant" front of house manager, had been treated.

"Unfortunately throughout the evening I was made aware that your party’s behaviour was inappropriate towards Lily," he said to the men, who he claims did not leave a tip.

Lily O'Conner and restaurant owner Lee Skeet
Chef and restaurant owner Lee Skeet was furious after the alleged incident. Source: Twitter

"She has told that — as a 22-year-old girl — she was talked down to, disrespected, and touched unwontedly by members of your group."

Mr Skeet said he offered to refund the group's money and asked them to never return in a message sent to their company, but changed his mind and gave the A$1743 to Ms O'Connor.

"It is not going to happen again - people should know that behaviour like that will not be tolerated in this restaurant," the chef and restaurant boss told Daily Mail.

"We don't want to call out the individual, it's not about naming and shaming anyone. But there is a point to be made about hospitality workers and the way they are treated," Ms O'Conner added.

Restaurant owner and manager praised

Mr Skeet and Ms O'Connor have been praised online for speaking out about the alleged incident.

"Just heard Lilly being interviewed on Radio Wales. She spoke so well on behalf of the catering industry saying just because you're wearing a suit doesn't give you the right to abuse staff. Well done to the both of you," one man said.

"Well done pal. Inexcusable behaviour. They definitely don't deserve a refund," another wrote.

"You are a great employer. Taking care of your employees. You didn't overreact. It's what a good employer does. Wish there were more like you," a third tweeted.

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