I got a message from my friend Anna this morning saying, “Sue, have you seen the Goat Café drama?” to which I responded, “No, Sue. What going on?”.
Firstly, we call each other Sue. It’s an Abigail’s Party thing.
If you are not aware, Goat Café is possibly the only fully vegan eatery in the northern town of Huddersfield.
But the drama?
In a bizarre Facebook exchange with a handful of customers, the person in charge of their social media abused and berated some customers.
By abused, I mean:
- asking how soon someone will die
- calling names such as ‘fucking control freak’
- responding to criticism with ‘fuck you and fuck your plans’
And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Reports are online of the Goat Café social media person also taking the argument and name-calling onto personal Facebook pages of customers including one instance of them using the term ‘fucking cocks’ to describe people voicing their concerns.
The backlash from the local and online vegan community has been swift and brutal.
The café has seen it’s star approval rating on Facebook plummet with more than 300 one star reviews being posted since the conflict commenced.
I don’t completely understand what started the tirade of abuse, but a lot of the conflict seems to surround a post by the Goat Café in which they expressed their plans to stop accepting credit cards and social media in their business.
This somehow turned into a particularly nasty exchange with a customer who had previously complained about a meal that wasn’t to her liking. You can see references to all of this on the Goat Facebook page (it might take a bit of sifting through as I believe the café has started deleting its older posts related to the situation).
The Goat Café serves an incredibly valuable purpose for Huddersfield and the surrounding area. I hear of vegans travelling from nearby towns once a week as it is the only place where they can be assured a 100% vegan menu.
My two visits to the café have been welcoming with solid food choices.
Whatever is happening to their team internally to result in this situation, I genuinely hope they sort it out not only for their own sake but for the valuable contribution their café and food make to the community.
Also, I don’t like seeing people attacked verbally. It’s not OK and rightfully people won’t stand for it. I have concerns for the owners who have always presented as kind and approachable. This behaviour appears completely out of character. I have concerns for the workers at the café and their job security.
Abusing people and name-calling on the Internet doesn’t fly in this day and age, least of all when the abuse is directed at your customers. People will shut your business down or at least work extremely hard to make it happen.
Hoping for the best but fearing the worst for Goat Café. Another drink, Sue?