A UK man has been left "utterly disgusted" after a restaurant has refused to refund his £660 ($1300) reservation after his father died tragically.

Martin O'Grady booked and paid for a table of six for a special tasting menu, which sold out a month in advance at The Fordwich Arms, in Kent.

But what was meant to be a night of birthday celebrations for O'Grady turned into a tragedy when his father died on the day of the reservation following an accident on December 27.

O'Grady said a member of the group called the restaurant on the day of the accident to request to change the booking, however was told by a staff member that the payment was non-refundable.


The manager of the AA Hospitality Awards' restaurant, Daniel Smith, told KentLive that the pre-payment was for the "premium expensive ingredients" that were specifically bought in for that night depending on the number of customers attending.

He said The Fordwich Arms was initially contacted on December 28 and the family were advised the tickets were non-refundable, but could be transferred and sold to someone else.

But as they were unable to fill the table as short notice, the manager offered to refund two tickets for O'Grady and his partner — or if the other group members still wanted to attend the restaurant would put that money towards drinks.

On Facebook, the bereaved man slammed the managers' responses as "inhumane behaviour."

"I am doing something I've never done before – leaving a poor review as a result of an appalling experience at a restaurant," O'Grady wrote.

"A party of six of us pre-booked a table at this restaurant for my birthday on New Year's Eve. We paid a deposit of £660.

"Very sadly my father had an accident on December 27 which led to his passing on New Year's Eve, my birthday and the date of our booking.

"One of our party called the restaurant on December 27 in advance to make the manager, Elliot, aware of what had happened and to request a postponement of our dinner date.


"He received a recital of nonsense about terms and conditions and that our dinner date could neither be refunded nor changed to a later date. We were not seeking a refund.

"We were simply requesting a goodwill gesture to allow us to change our reservation to a later date once I had a chance to return to the UK.

I am doing something I’ve never done before - leaving a poor review as a result of an appalling experience at a...

Posted by Martin O'Grady on Saturday, 18 January 2020

"When asked how management view such extenuating circumstances the manager and owners neither cared nor wanted to hear anything about it. Another recital of terms and conditions ensued.

"We are utterly disgusted by this experience, not to mention £660 worse off, and just feel compelled to share this horrifying story with anyone ever considering making a reservation at this establishment.

"There are no words. I just feel everyone should be aware of what kind of people run this place and draw their own conclusions before ever considering making a reservation at this place.

"Are Guy, Daniel and Natasha really in business? I wonder what the Michelin Group would think about how they are represented in this instance.

"Good luck to them if that's how they conduct their business. We will certainly never be returning."

In response, the manager said after being asked by a family member about changing the booking, staff immediately called two tables on the waiting list, but they had already made plans.

"First of all I would like to say how sorry we are to hear of Mr O'Grady's loss…," Smith wrote.

"The reason we charge a pre-payment for these events is that all the food is bought in especially for the menus we offer which allow us to purchase exactly what we are going to use in the evening.

"With it being New Year's Eve, this particular menu utilised a lot of premium expensive ingredients which were purchased specifically for the event and ensures that no food is wasted.

"As a small independent restaurant in the current financial climate, it is vital we take steps like these to take pre-payments to protect our business.

"We have a high number of staff to ensure we provide the best experience possible. However this means that margins are very tight as always in restaurants."