Diner slams London restaurant she says is ‘guilt-tripping’ customers who only order tap water with their meal – as eaterie boss says ‘We run a restaurant, not a charity’

  • Danish steakhouse Köd in north-east London offers all-you-can-eat roast dinner
  • Encourages customers to donate £1 to Red Cross if ordering tap water
  • Jane Breeds slammed the message as ‘wild behaviour’ on social media 

A London restaurant owner has been forced to defend his ‘cheeky’ menu after offended customers accused it of ‘guilt-tripping’ them for only ordering water with their meal.

Jane Breeds and her boyfriend visited Danish steakhouse Köd in north-east London, on Sunday, November 12, to take advantage of their all-you-can-eat roast dinner.

But they were stunned to find a note on the £30-per-head menu warning ‘you can have tap water* but please remember we’re running a restaurant, not a charity – wink, wink’.

It goes on to add ‘if you want to have just tap water, we encourage you to donate £1 to Red Cross. Everybody wins’.

The 27-year-old claims she and her partner ‘made a point’ of not buying a drink because of it and instead ordered a jug of tap water.

Jane Breeds and her boyfriend visited Danish steakhouse Köd London, north east London, on Sunday, November 12, to take advantage of their all-you-can-eat roast dinner

They were stunned to find a note on the £30-per-head menu warning ‘you can have tap water* but please remember we’re running a restaurant, not a charity – wink, wink’

Despite paying a 15 per cent tip due to the ‘great service’ Jane still took to social media later that night to slam the message as ‘wild behaviour’.

The civil servant has since labelled the request for a donation ‘guilt tripping’ and ‘cheeky’ given they’d spent £60 at the swanky venue.

THE FULL NOTE ON THE KOD’S SUNDAY MENU

‘Yes, you can have just tap water… but please remember – we’re running a restaurant, not a charity – wink, wink, we need to make money.

‘You know who is running a charity, though? Red Cross is! If you want to have just tap water, we encourage you to donate £1 to Red Cross. Everybody wins.

‘All jokes aside, our founder, Morten P. Ortwed, proudly serves as a Red Cross ambassador.

‘Each year, the Red Cross selects entrepreneurial individuals to launch exciting and profitable projects to raise funds.

‘We would be absolutely delighted if you could support this cause. Please inform your waiter, and thank you immensely.’

However Köd owner Morten Ortwed has hit back at the criticism, claiming his restaurant wouldn’t be able to run the ‘great’ Sunday-exclusive deal if nobody bought drinks.

He adds the note is ‘Danish humour’ and admits he has ‘things to learn’ about it working in the UK.

The chain founder only opened the London branch in March following more than a decade in Denmark and Norway.

Morten, 38, and Jane locked horns on Twitter yesterday afternoon [Nov 12] where he attempted to explain the joke but she insisted his ‘snarky’ message was putting customers off buying drinks.

Jane, from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, said: ‘It’s a bit cheeky to imply that I’m treating the restaurant as a charity when I’m spending £60.

‘When I first saw the menu I laughed and told my boyfriend that we’re not ordering any drinks.

‘He asked why and I passed him the menu. He found it funny too and agreed to just stick to tap water.

‘I was given a jug and I didn’t request for it to be refilled but I’m sure they would have done so.

‘[The donation] is a nice idea but I don’t think I should be guilt-tripped into donating to charity just because I only wanted to drink tap water.

‘I didn’t make a donation but I did happily pay the 15 per cent tip that is automatically added on though as the staff were great.

‘They didn’t say anything about us only drinking tap water and gave great service.’

Köd owner Morten Ortwed has hit back at the criticism, claiming his restaurant wouldn’t be able to run the ‘great’ Sunday-exclusive deal if nobody bought drinks

Jane’s tweet, accompanied by a photo showing some of the message

Another X user also agreed with Jane on the tone of the message 

Despite the issues with the menu message, Jane was happy to recommend others to the restaurant 

Restaurant owner Morten is an ambassador for Red Cross and the menu’s message ends by revealing that to customers and asking them to inform waiters if they wish to donate.

The father-of-two was keen to emphasise that Köd isn’t forcing customers to buy drinks or donate but believes it would be a nice thing to do.

Morten, from Skanderborg, Denmark, said: ‘It’s a really good offer that people like but it’s not possible to make an offer like this if everyone just has free tap water.

‘This is a way in Danish humour to tell people to also buy something to drink so we can continue to have this great offer.

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‘We’re not forcing people to buy drinks. They can have free tap water.

‘I understand [they find it cheeky] but to come to a restaurant and have tap water I think it would be nice to also donate something. That shouldn’t be a bad thing.

‘It’s the first time I saw something critical about it. I will of course think about it for the future but I don’t think we should change something because one person doesn’t agree.

‘There are still some things we need to learn about Danish humour working in the UK.’

Jane’s tweet, accompanied by a photo showing some of the message, said: ‘Made a point of not ordering drinks at Köd steakhouse by Liverpool Street after seeing this on the menu. Wild behaviour lol.’

Morten replied and said: ‘Thanks for [the] attention. You forget to say this is only for our Sunday special where we offer an all-you-can-eat roast for £30.

‘We can’t do that if everybody only do tap water. We try to add humour, not offence. Tap water is still free, Red Cross donation [is] optional!’

Jane hit back: ‘I guarantee that you are turning more people off ordering drinks with your snarky messaging than you are encouraging people to order more drinks.’

Morten added: ‘We are a Danish restaurant and maybe it’s too much Danish humour, maybe it’s not.

‘We’ll see. So far, you are the first we have heard a negative comment from.. But we will take it into consideration in our evaluation. Thank you for the feedback.’

One user commented: ‘Are they really expecting to turn a profit by selling water? Just close down the restaurant at this point bro.’

A second added: ‘I was ordering the malbec, but having read that. Tap water please?’

A third wrote: ‘That’s a long-winded way of saying your business model doesn’t work.’

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