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Manager at Michelin-starred restaurant sacked for pocketing £200 bill

Guy Palmer-Brown was caught on CCTV taking a £200 cash payment from a regular at The Fordwich Arms, Kent and throwing the bill away, a tribunal has heard.

The incident took place in January 2020, though the decision from the employment tribunal this April was only published last week.

Suspicions were raised when a member of staff questioned why takings from the night had been so low. Palmer-Brown, who was managing front-of-house and had worked at The Fordwich Arms since 2017, claimed that the customer, who was known to always pay in cash, had settled his bill by card on this occasion.

At the hearing it was also revealed that Palmer-Brown, sensing doubts from his colleagues about his story, returned to the restaurant when it was shut the following morning. There he turned the CCTV cameras off and inputted data for a £181 bill (plus a 12.5% service charge) and left the cash on a desk in the restaurant’s office.

Two days later, Palmer-Brown, having adjusted the data, banked the cash. That evening, chef patron Daniel Smith looked over the footage from the night of the incident and discovered that Palmer-Brown had taken the money for himself. He then suspended Palmer-Brown with immediate effect.

A few weeks later, Palmer-Brown submitted a formal grievance, claiming that his suspension had been in breach of contract. This year it went to court, where he claimed that he had not placed the cash in the till as he wanted to ensure that desserts had not been missed off the bill. His claim of unfair dismissal was dismissed.

On the other side of the Atlantic there was an even more extreme bill-based fiasco after a customer requested the return of a US$3,000 tip.

This article was originally published by Wine List Confidential and has been shared with permission.

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