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Hawksmoor promotes staff member who served £4,500 wine by mistake

The member of staff at the Manchester branch of steak restaurant Hawksmoor who served a bottle of £4,500 Château Le Pin 2001 to diners by mistake has been promoted to general manager.

Hawksmoor first drew attention to the slip-up in a series of tweets in May this year. The first stated: “To the customer who accidentally got given a bottle of Chateau Le Pin Pomerol 2001, which is £4,500 on our menu, last night – hope you enjoyed your evening! To the member of staff who accidentally gave it away, chin up! One-off mistakes happen and we love you anyway.”

The steak specialist followed this up with a photo of the two bottles side-by-side, captioned: “THEY LOOK PRETTY SIMILAR OK!?”

In an update published on 5 September, the restaurant stated that the worker involved in the incident has now been promoted.

The staff member, who has been named in an interview with the Evening Standard as Ellen Stott, mistakenly gave a table that had ordered an already pricy £260 bottle of Château Pichon Longueville Contesse de Lalande 2001, a £4,500 bottle of Château Le Pin from the same vintage.

It has been argued that Stott’s mistake, and the way Hawksmoor responded to it, actually gave the restaurant chain far more than £4,240 (the price differential between the two bottles) worth of publicity and advertising.

The Evening Standard reported that Stott has now been promoted to general manager at the Edinburgh branch of the chain.

Hawksmoor founder Will Beckett told the publication: “Ellen started on day one of Edinburgh, taking a waitress role despite having a lot of management experience because she believed in what we do here. We quickly promoted her and started preparing her for more senior roles because we believe so much in her.

“I think Ellen’s experience of what happens at Hawksmoor – both in terms of developing people and how to treat them when things go wrong (or right) – will stand her in great stead to be a wonderful Hawksmoor general manager.

Manchester has also made headlines in the past week when an Australian cricket journalist was accidentally charged £55,000 for a single bottle of beer in a hotel in the city.

Peter Lalor, cricket writer and beer editor of The Australian, ordered a £5.50 bottle of Deuchers IPA at the Malmaison hotel only to be charged at total of £55,315.12.

Lalor said that he didn’t have his glasses on when paying for the drink, but as there were some problems paying, something made him ask how much he had been charged.

He was then told he had to wait 10 working days for the money to return to his account and was charged interest on the payment.

A hotel spokesman said: “We are currently carrying out an investigation into what took place. We have been in contact with Peter to apologise and ensure this has been resolved as quickly as possible.”

Lalor quipped: “Australians find England pretty expensive usually, but this takes the cake.”

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