Gastronomy News Food & Wine

Chef Faces Backlash Over $300 No-Show Fee, Igniting a Storm of Negative Reviews

Elisa Erriu
copertina jen royle

A "controversial case" shaking the web: The chef defends the decision to impose a no-show fee, but the customer who missed the reservation due to illness fights back. The result? A flood of scathing reviews.

Photo credits: @Chris Christo, MediaNews Group-Boston Herald by Getty Images

The News

In the fast-paced world of dining, sometimes it takes a small spark to ignite a fire. This is exactly what happened to Jen Royle, the owner of the TABLE restaurant in Boston, who recently found herself at the center of a media storm over a $250 (almost 300 euros) no-show fee.

jen royle Chris Christo MediaNews Group Boston Herald via Getty Images
@Chris Christo, MediaNews Group-Boston Herald by Getty Images

According to The Daily Mail, the incident began with a booking for a seven-course dinner at TABLE, a restaurant known for offering sophisticated dishes in an intimate 32-seat setting. Trevor Chauvin-DeCaro, the involved customer, had planned to visit Boston for a Madonna concert, but an unexpected trip to the emergency room derailed his plans. Despite informing the restaurant, the reservation was canceled outside the 48-hour window, triggering the cancellation fee.

Table Boston 18

Unwilling to pay the fee, Chauvin-DeCaro disputed the charge with his credit card company. Indignant, Royle decided to contact him directly on Instagram, accusing him of disrespecting her restaurant and staff. Chauvin-DeCaro then shared screenshots of their exchange on X (Twitter), quickly making the issue go viral.

The dispute triggered a flood of negative reviews and even death threats directed at Royle, forcing her to temporarily shut down the restaurant’s social media profiles. In a statement, she expressed regret for contacting Chauvin-DeCaro privately but emphasized the need to uphold her restaurant’s policies, noting how damaging payment disputes can be for small businesses.

table jen royle socia

Royle's lawyer, Michael Ford, explained that the temporary social media shutdown was a security measure due to the threats received. He also highlighted the unique challenges Royle faces as a female entrepreneur running her business. Chauvin-DeCaro condemned the threats and insults received by both parties, expressing surprise at the intensity of the reactions.

table boston piatto

The situation at TABLE serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between protecting business interests and maintaining good customer relations. While Royle stands firm in her policies, it is clear that open dialogue and mutual respect are crucial, especially in an industry dedicated to enjoyment and hospitality.

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