ince food

You, Biles, and Ince walk into a bar.

John Biles, Ince's head of finance, is retiring from the firm after a chef barred him from his restaurant where his guests allegedly mistreated a 22-year-old waitress.

The firm is now investigating the matter after it emerged that other senior Ince staff were present at the dinner. There have been reports that one of the attendees was John's son, Chief Executive Adrian Biles, however the firm would not confirm or deny the allegation. It is understood it does not regard the timing of John Biles' retirement as linked to the incident.

The giant Ince headache erupted last week when a chef, Lee Skeet, posted a tweet containing a letter he sent to John Biles, in which Skeet informed him that he had clocked up the "biggest bill" that Skeet's restaurant, Cora, had "ever seen". 

Skeet continued that Lily O’Connor, a waitress who runs front of house at the 12-seat venue in Cardiff, was "talked down to, disrespected, and touched unwantedly by members of your group". He added that Biles also "left no tip", and wrote, "I would thank you to never come back to my restaurant".


Biles' top tip: don't.

O'Connor's sister, Delyth Griffiths, said in a now-deleted LinkedIn post, "Towards the end of the night as they left one of the men put their hands on my 22 year old sister".

Skeet said his conversations with O’Connor in the aftermath of her treatment, "break my heart" and "make me feel like a shit employer".

The chef initially offered to refund Biles' entire bill of £1000 to cement the ban, minus £100 which he said Biles "should have tipped Lily". However, he had second thoughts. "On reflection I reacted too quickly and emotionally last night", said the chef on Twitter. "I'm not going to refund the customer's money. I've instead kept it and transferred to Lily".

"I also think you should assess the people you surround yourself with", Skeet told Biles. "We should start calling out rich people who think they can treat people like crap", he said in his viral post.

A source close to the restaurant told RollOnFriday that Biles, who is 82-years-old, did nothing wrong himself, and that it was his guests who behaved poorly. ROF understands that one of the six male diners was the primary culprit.



Skeet's letter to Biles.

"The second they walked in, it was bad energy", Skeet told WalesOnline. "It's not like they insulted her or anything like that - she was just noticeably upset every time she came back in the kitchen."

"They had seven bottles of wine from the same case and then on the eighth bottle of wine they said 'This is off, this wine'. And it was literally from exactly the same [case]. And they said to her, 'Stick your beak in there. Stick your beak in there and smell it'". RollOnFriday understands that O'Connor later clarified that they had referred to her 'schnoz' rather than her 'beak', and a source connected to Ince claimed the incident was being referred to by Ince staff as 'Schnozgate'.

O’Connor also said one of the diners told her to work seven nights a week if she wanted to make a "living" salary, reported the Daily Mail. "He used humiliating tactics, trying to degrade me for the job I love doing", she said.

The morning after the incident, Chief Executive Adrian Biles informed staff that John Biles, who is the firm's Head of Finance & Administration, was retiring. "John will transition out of the business over the next 4 months", said Adrian Biles in a note leaked to ROF.


Something of a coincidence.

After Ince maintained radio silence when ROF broke the story that senior staff were the ones accused of boorish behaviour, and that John Biles was leaving, a spokesperson eventually conceded, "We have been made aware of allegations in the media in relation to senior staff attending a dinner on Wednesday evening last week. The independent directors have therefore initiated a formal investigation. While it is ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further".

Several members of the Biles family occupy senior positions in the stock market-listed business, which used to be called Gordon Dadds until it snapped up Ince and slapped the defunct shipping firm's august name over its own. Not only is Adrian Biles the chief executive, but another relation, Robert Biles, is a corporate partner based in Cardiff. Ince declined to say how many Biles boys were present at the banteriffic meal, but observers will be watching closely to see how the firm manages to conduct an independent, internally-run investigation into its own first family.

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Tony 13 May 22 07:53

Misogynistic behaviour is unacceptable. Bullying is unacceptable. These people need to have a word with themselves. 

Anonymous 13 May 22 08:16

Keep us posted on the investigation,  which will hopefully get to the bottom of the allegations. It would also be interesting to know what investigations were carried out by the restaurant before going public with the allegations. Bullying, misandric and misogynistic behaviour is unacceptable.

Anon 13 May 22 08:28

Internal investigation into the conduct of the managers of the business by … the people who report to them.

Anon 13 May 22 08:34

It is so good to see behaviour like this called out, having trained in the mid 90s when it was open season to be groped, patronised and assaulted at work and work events by colleagues and clients

Anon 13 May 22 09:42

Lucky that his ‘retirement’ is happening at such an opportune moment… but why is he still in the office?
People get suspended for much less while investigations are being carried out. 

Anon Ince Trainee 13 May 22 10:10

@Anon 09.42 - men like that have no regard for anyone. Doing his best to make people in the firm uncomfortable and acting like nothing is wrong. White male privilege. 

Anonymous 13 May 22 10:19

Been saying it for years - just stop all work socialising.  Completely over-rated anyway.  Drunk over-worked rich people interacting with juniors or poor people always ends badly.  Just do your work and socialise with your own money, on your own time.  

If I was head of marketing at a large organisation, I'd view all work dos with trepidation. Every single one of them is a potential incident.  


Dearie 13 May 22 10:33

Any host of a work social event has an obligation to manage their own guests. We've all had to do it, and we all learn who not to invite.

Anonymous 13 May 22 10:47

@10.10 - what did he do to make people in the firm 'uncomfortable', and what is meant by 'uncomfortable'?

Anon 13 May 22 10:52

10:19 - have you heard of “fun”?

Ince/Gordon Dadds/Jeffrey Green Russell/Davenport Lyons - a melange of blue chip firms (well Ince was once hence the name grab) who would have thought we’d have such a flow of tales of spiviness and other unpleasantness?

Anonymous 13 May 22 10:52

Drunk ****s being idiots and touching a waitress (although it doesn't specify inappropriately). Everyone has to deal with pricks whatever job they do. In the restaurant trade you get pricks who are drunk and chat shit. Sure I'll be in a minority of one, but don't see the big deal here.

The restaurant owner suggests if the geezer wasn't rich he wouldn't have publicly shamed him... so being rich justifies that? We're generally okay with public shaming yeah? Even without evidence? 

ANON 13 May 22 10:58

This is unacceptable, but please stop all this 'white male privilege' bullshit. Do you honestly think this behaviour is exclusive to rich people of European descent? 

They can change their names to INCEL. Fits perfectly

Anonymous 13 May 22 11:22

Distinct lack of actual evidence of misconduct. The word of a cook chasing clout on twitter based on the hearsay of perceptions of a 22 year old girl. Gimme a break

Lara 13 May 22 11:26

I am a female but what I don’t understand is why Biles is somehow liable for the actions of his guests.  I assume the waitress didn’t raise the harassment at the time but if Biles didn’t do it personally (which appears to be the case), I don’t think it’s fair to accuse Biles for being a misogynist. 

Anonymous 13 May 22 12:10

"men like that have no regard for anyone. Doing his best to make people in the firm uncomfortable and acting like nothing is wrong. White male privilege."

Exactly, it's clear cis-normative oppression that furthers the structurally white-supremacist power structures that bind us all.

A total colonial hangover.

Anonymous 13 May 22 12:17

"I am a female but what I don’t understand is why Biles is somehow liable for the actions of his guests."

Because his name was on the booking. 

And we can't raise the profile of a restaurant by just howling into the wind about curiously vaguely described words and actions at a party unknown, can we?



Seriously though, I do agree. I'm quite sure that at least one person in the party behaved like a total arse. But it seems a bit odd that Ol' John is the one taking the fall for it when there's no suggestion that he endorsed or participated in that behaviour. It's a curiously puritanical 'guilt by association' mentality that I'd dare to suggest we wouldn't feel so comfortable with if the target was anything other than white and male.


Anon 13 May 22 12:33

Looks like (W)Ince management have their cronies out in full force making comments justifying their behaviour. 

Anonymous 13 May 22 14:38

Anyone who can't get drunk and not be a p*ick should not drink.

And certainly shouldn't drink at work/with people 

The vast vast majority of people can have a drink and a laugh and not be offensive

Anonymous 13 May 22 14:50

@14.18 - which comments do you think are not from Ince management, and/or Ince business services staff who imagine themselves as occupying management positions irrespective of the rudimentary and administrative nature of their work, and why? 

Lord Lester 13 May 22 14:52

Well I for one think that it sounds like they had a jolly old time. Which is the most important thing.

Brian East 13 May 22 15:37

If they demeaned her job, that is poor behaviour for sure. If someone touched her, although we don't know the exact context, that would seem poor behaviour again.

Saying "stick your schnoz" in there, really, are we saying that is somehow sexist bullying. That allegation, on the face of it, is a non-event. 

The owner himself said:

It's not like they insulted her or anything like that - she was just noticeably upset every time she came back in the kitchen.

Albeit it seems they may have insulted her given the comment about her job, it doesn't seem like the worst behaved table a restaurant has ever had. Sounds as if an apology is required by one attendee but surely we all have to be able to handle people being slightly annoying sometimes. If I got a grand every time I was mildly upset, I mean, I might be inclined to be less robust...

Anonymous 13 May 22 15:50

@14.50 - which comments do you think are from Ince management, and/or Ince business services staff who imagine themselves as occupying management positions irrespective of the rudimentary and administrative nature of their work, and why? 

Anonymous 13 May 22 23:11

@7.15 - what sounds like your sort of dinner? Who sound like your sort of people? Who do you want to peer at?

Anon 14 May 22 07:29

Retiring at 82. 
who knew that there were firms out there that would operate such healthy anti-ageism

Anon 15 May 22 07:47

I feel like the real elephant in the room is that Ince - which holds itself out as being a serious law firm - is absolutely full to the brim of nepotism. I didn't realise it was possible in the twenty first century for a large law firm to have a bunch of people all from the same family in senior management roles. It feels like something out of the Mafia. 

Anonymous 16 May 22 09:41

@13:48 - what evidence do you have of anyone dancing the lambda with my mother? Least of all yourself?

Anonymous 16 May 22 12:53

Great publicity for his restaurant.  

But I'm surprised at the original cause of the complaint - Skeet thinks that all bottles in a case of wine are either good or bad.  Just because 6 bottles were good is completely irrelevant.  Suggests that he needs to learn (a) that isn't the case and (b) if a guest complains about a bottle of wine, you change it.  So his lack of knowledge and customer skills may well have put his waitress in a difficult position.

But clearly the Ince guys were total dicks about it and there's no excuse for touching a waitress

Anonymous 16 May 22 16:12

15th @ 12.12 - apology accepted. Just don't do any more multiple upvotings, pretending to be anyone else, false accusations or misandry.

Bleah again 17 May 22 01:45

@Anonymous 15 May 22 11:43, alas, looking at the downvotes on my comment I sense that either I got the temperature of the room wrong, my wit-banteur wordplay reference may have been overlooked, or maybe it was too much of a Dad joke.

Confused scholar 17 May 22 08:35

I don’t understand why all the fuss. The touching may not have been done with malice or intention to harass. For instance, I regularly give hugs and kisses to waitresses who do a great job and never had I encountered complaints - because this is how I express my appreciations. For that reason, I feel that the restaurateur merely wanted some publicity, which he had successfully achieved, at the expense of innocent diners and Ince’s boss who were hurt miserably. 

Anonymous 17 May 22 09:11

16th @ 12.53 - mostly agree, would only add that we need to wait until the outcone of the investigation to see who did what.

Anon 18 May 22 12:28

Anonymous 16 May 22 16:12: what multiple upvoting? What pretence? What false accusations? What misandry?

@confused scholar 18 May 22 19:32

I once complimented a female colleague’s outfit and then received a warning from HR for sexual harassment. On a separate occasion I danced with a PA at a Christmas party - both of us were tipsy and I touched her arse like a normal man would do. Got a call from Head of HR the following Monday morning asking me to leave. 

Moral of the story: If you are a white male, be mindful of what you say and do and the consequences that may ensue.   

Anonymous 19 May 22 12:31

Is this comment section full of men who feel called out by the highlighting of this type of behaviour, or have Ince/the Biles clan hired a PR firm?

As usual for them, they seem to have half a***d it if they have.

Anonymous 20 May 22 07:08

The restaurant were wrong to go on social media before carrying out any sort of investigation or, it seems, attempting to hear the customers' side of the story. This was a little naive of them and they probably won't do it again. The firm are right to investigate, although they need to make sure the investigation is genuinely independent (this isn't the same as assuming guilt at the outset). Biles snr's retirement looks coincidental, especially given he doesn't seem to be being accused of anything. Some of thd comments are fair and balanced while there is the usual smatterings of btl misandry.

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