Bankers cannot pass go at Paris restaurant

By Henry Samuel in Paris

The owner of a Michelin-ranked restaurant has banned bankers from his eatery in revenge for being denied a business loan. Photo / 123RF
The owner of a Michelin-ranked restaurant has banned bankers from his eatery in revenge for being denied a business loan. Photo / 123RF

The owner of a Michelin-ranked restaurant has banned bankers from his eatery in revenge for being denied a business loan.

Alexandre Callet, 30, who runs the gourmet restaurant Les Ecuries de Richelieu, is furious after he was refused a €70,000 ($117,560) credit line to open a second venue.

The blackboard outside his restaurant in Rueil-Malmaison, an upmarket suburb to the west of Paris, reads: "Dogs welcome, bankers banned (unless they pay an entry fee of €70,000)."

Callet told Le Figaro: "As soon as I see a banker that I recognise, I won't let them enter my restaurant. They have treated me like a dog, so I have denied them access.

"I'm not going to police the doors but the people concerned know who they are."

His move has found sympathy among many entrepreneurial Frenchmen and women, who feel stifled by a lack of banking support.

Callet described his act as one of desperation at the "permanent sabotage of the economic fabric of France", whose growth is near-stagnant and has record unemployment levels.

Callet said he felt "humiliated" as the size of the loan was very reasonable given his turnover for last year of €300,000 - his best result and triple that of his first year in 2008.

"This is not a kebab shop. My restaurant is in the Michelin guide and film stars come here," he added.

"Bankers who turned me down know me.

"I've never had financial problems and yet I find myself in this situation.

"They are not doing their job. That's why we have so many businesses in France who resort to crowdfunding.

"France has problems understanding this. That's why London has become the sixth French city."

Callet said he had received a personal apology from one bank director and was also contacted by Qatar's embassy in Paris, which offered to put him in contact with a Qatari bank.

But he said the plan to open the second restaurant has fallen through, adding: "I don't want to work with bankers any more."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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