A restaurant owner in Paris is thoroughly miffed with bankers, so much so that he’s banned them from entering his establishment. A sign outside the place reads: “Dogs welcome, bankers banned (unless they pay an entry fee of €70,000).”
Alexandre Callet’s obvious displeasure towards bankers stems from the fact that many of them turned down his request for a loan of €70,000 ($77,273) to open a second restaurant. He said that he felt humiliated because the amount he asked for is “nothing” compared to the €300,000 turnover of his Michelin-ranked restaurant, Les Ecuries de Richelieu. In fact, most of the bankers who turned him down know Callet and have actually dined at his place.
“I believe in reciprocity,” the 30-year-old said. “They have treated me like a dog, so I have denied them access. As soon as I see a banker that I recognise I won’t let them enter my restaurant. This is not just a kebab shop. My restaurant is in the Michelin guide and film stars come in.”
Photo: Alexandre Callet
Callet was apparently given the runaround even when he was trying to open his first restaurant at age 23 – his application was rejected by 20 banks before one finally agreed to finance his project. He believes that his own situation is a shameful reflection of the way banks treat most young business-owners in France, and blames it on the nation’s socialist tendencies.
“Restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, we are all in the same situation,” he lamented. “Whenever we want to start a business, we have to get on all fours. I have never had financial problems and yet I find myself in this situation. Bankers are not doing their job. That’s why we have so many businesses in France who have to resort to crowdfunding. France has problems understanding this.”
Photo: Google Maps
“It’s the problem with our ‘socialism à la Française’,” he said. “We have more civil servants than anywhere in the world, we have a social welfare system that has a bigger budget than the Americans’ defence budget.”
Despite the sign at the entrance, Callet said he hasn’t actually turned away any bankers yet. But he’s quite serious about the whole business, in case he ever spots one.