The White Moose Café states on its menu that it will do whatever it can to accommodate those with an allergy to gluten, but encourages those with gluten intolerances to seek the help of “a good psychotherapist down the road”.
The hotel expresses a similar stance with regards to veganism, telling diners: “vegans will not be shot dead at point blank range if they have the decency to give us 24 hours notice of their arrival”.
In a screenshot of an email sent to the hotel and subsequently posted on its Facebook page on Monday, a customer named Mary condemned the hotel’s “derisive comments” regarding gluten-free diners.
“You appear to be a bunch of buffoons with a very juvenile sense of humour,” she wrote, adding that her husband has coeliac disease and therefore cannot eat gluten.
Owner Paul Stenson responded to Mary’s email in the Facebook post, writing: “We’re absolutely delighted that you won’t be visiting us, as people who complain about light-hearted, satirical wording they read online that the vast majority of people find funny, will probably whinge and moan in person too.”
Stenson thanked Mary for “sparing our staff of a negative, whining customer”, adding that his employees will be “happier as a result, and happier staff will provide better service to the customers who actually matter.”
In an additional note, Stenson added that Mary’s coeliac husband is welcome to eat at the hotel and that he would happily serve him gluten-free food.
“But if you were ‘appalled’ by the wording on the website,” he adds, “you’d have a f***ing heart attack if you ever came in”.
Speaking to The Independent, Stenson explained that the hotel’s “left of centre” social media presence is very much intentional.
“We use the outrage of the public to gain publicity for the café, without spending a cent,” the owner said. “Our social media presence filters out miserable people from people who don’t take life too seriously, meaning the 35 seats in our café are occupied by pleasant people who don’t whinge and moan incessantly.
“I value my employees and would not subject them to whiners. Happier employees will provide better customer service to the customers that matter i.e. positive people who realise they only live once.”
The White Moose Café shot to fame in January 2018 for issuing a “ban” on social media influencers after a 22-year-old YouTuber asked for a five-night stay at the hotel for free.
Stenson posted the influencer’s email on Facebook and in a scathing response said “it takes a lot of balls to send an email like that, if not much self-respect and dignity”.
“If I let you stay here in return for a feature in a video, who is going to pay the staff who look after you?” he continued. “Who is going to pay the housekeepers who clean your room? The waiters who serve you breakfast? The receptionist who checks you in?”
The message concluded: “P.S. The answer is no” and shortly after, once the YouTuber had identified herself as Elle Darby and posted a teary-eyed video in response to Stenson, the hotel issued a statement saying that it had decided to ban “all bloggers” from its business.
“The sense of entitlement is just too strong in the blogging community,” it read.
“If any of you attempt to enter our premises from now on, you will be ejected.”