Iranian-born Anne Giffard has run Cafe Crepes, in Epsom High Street, for the past five years, serving fresh crepes, omelettes and drinks.
Two weeks ago, an appalled Gretta Dempsie, mother of Game of Thrones and Skins actor Joe Dempsie, contacted the Epsom Guardian to complain about the treatment of her disabled daughter, Lauren.They were told to sit outside because she was in a wheelchair.
Let the OUTRAGE! begin.
… the Dempsies are not the only ones to complain about the way they were treated at Cafe Crepes. All six reviews on website 192.com slate Mrs Giffard for being rude, aggressive and unhelpful.Hmmm, all six? That’s not a lot. Not for five years in business.
The lady explains herself:
Mrs Giffard said the restaurant is too small and narrow for pushchairs and wheelchairs and that there is seating outside for these customers.
She said: "This is a small business, it is not a chain.
"If you’re not happy, don’t come. It’s not my problem."Now, no doubt this is causing a sharp intake of breath in the sort of people who demand grovelling ‘customer service’ from hapless wage slaves in Tesco & McDonalds, but it’s somewhat refreshing to me.
An Epsom resident of 15 years, Mrs Giffard was born in Iran and grew up in France. She said she has a select group of customers who she loves and who like her food, with people coming from Wimbledon just for her crepes. Her prized customers include Atkins employees who regularly order lunch and a "nice, polite family who come and understand me".
"They fold their buggy, put it on the side and sit in here," she added.
"Others, they come in and provoke me.
"If you’re in Epsom in the morning there are lots of pushchairs. They go and get their benefits and they go from cafe to cafe.
"I prefer to have people with good manners."Don’t we all? After all, if they don’t like the service, they can go elsewhere, or – as some undoubtedly do – whinge about it on the Internet.
Mrs Giffard does not tolerate people speaking on their telephones in Cafe Crepes because she said she wants to create a real cafe ambience. She said people ask her why she wants to turn away their custom, but that she is not desperate for their money:
"I am an Iranian. I am not like this."But sadly, all things must pass.
But like it or loathe it, Cafe Crepes will soon be departing Epsom. Mrs Giffard said she must return to Iran to take care of family matters and will be selling the shop before the end of year.I wonder if whoever buys it will retain Mrs Giffard’s rather unique style? I do rather hope so, it makes a nice change from an insincere ‘have a nice day’…