A Michelin-ranked French restaurant owner has banned bankers from entering his gourmet eatery, Les Ecuries de Richelieu, outside Paris, unless they are willing to pay nearly €70,000 (£54,200) entrance fee, equivalent to the loan he was denied by banks.
Outside his restaurant in Rueil-Malmaison, Alexandre Callet, 30, has posted a message on a blackboard that reads: "Dogs welcome, bankers banned (unless they pay an entry fee of €70,000)." Callet says: "As soon as I see a banker that I recognize, 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." Callet was refused the loan that he had intended to use to open a second venue. He says his agony resonates with other entrepreneurs and women who have time and time again been refused credit.
"Restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, we're all in the same boat: every time we want to launch a business, we have to get on all fours... This is not just a kebab shop. My restaurant is in the Michelin guide and film stars come in here. I have never had financial problems and yet I find myself in this situation," said Callet, reported The Telegraph.
"Bankers are not doing their job. That's why we have so many businesses in France who have to resort to crowd funding." Callet believes his requested line of credit was not huge and should not have been refused. Despite being contacted by the Qatar embassy in Paris, who offered to help Callet through the Qatari bank, Callet says he no longer wishes to work with bankers.