There is Hope for the Hospitality Industry!

Evening Standard:

»Chefs demand Michelin-starred restaurants be stripped of their awards if staff are bullied«

“Michelin-starred restaurants should be stripped of their awards if staff are bullied, says Unichef.

The chefs’ union, which advocates for “zero tolerance of abuse in kitchens,” said that allegations of abusive behaviour towards staff was too common within the industry. … The petition comes after reports that Tom Kitchin, who runs the Michelin-starred restaurant Kitchin and gastropub Scran & Scally, was forced to suspend two senior staff over allegations of abusive behaviour towards employees.”

Link to full article.

There is one “argument” I mostly hear on social media when I point out the toxic bullying culture in Pret with links to employment review sites, social media complaints by staff AND customers who witness bullying, and my own story. Many people say, “well, this is in many other places, too, not just Pret”. And thus I am supposed to accept this. Well, no! It’s time things change and for this systemic toxic bullying culture to end and become widely unacceptable. People who give this “argument” really don’t care and care too much about Pret and the happy image Pret portrays. Some cuss me out because I just pulled down their illusions about Pret! Don’t shoot the messenger!

When people give me this argument, I point out that if the #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter and many other movements would not have happened, we would be in a greater mess than we’re already in. It was accepted that sexual harassment in Hollywood and in workplaces in general is “normal”. No, it isn’t! Even domestic violence has only been criminalized in the 1990s! Before that, it was none of the neighbours or the police’s business what happened next door!

Of course there will always be crimes, sexual harassment, racism, bullying etc. But this is about pulling it out of the “norm” and into the exception that makes crimes as crimes and unacceptable in society. To learn and re-learn again what is and what is not acceptable! We all agree on certain issues like murder is wrong, period. We need to get to the place where we also believe and know that bullying is wrong. Period.

In fact, workplace bullying should be criminalized. The same with Wage theft!

Of course stripping restaurants of Michelin stars is just a demand and a draft of a first step towards luxury brands, but it can trickle “down” to lower wage and fast-food chains and the hospitality business in general, with different consequences for companies who allow and even promote bullying.

It’s not popular to say this, but I always was bothered with Gordon Ramsey. He made a fortune and became famous for bullying, shouting and humiliating the people who worked with and for him! It’s cool and trendy to tell a colleague to “fuck off” even on Television! How then do we wonder that this is so rampant in the hospitality industry.

It’s an upside down world to reward bullying. Life is too short to be treated like dirt when all you do is work freaking hard to build a life and a dream at best, or just pay your bills at worst, and in many cases for the lowest of the lowest wage! NO! Life is too short!



I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Thank you for reading/listening.

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