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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