French Restaurant Bans Bankers, Welcomes Dog with Open Arms

By Mike Pomranz |

© Gianna Lucci

If you’ve ever been denied a loan, hit with an overdraft fee or supported Bernie Sanders, you know that dealing with banks can be unpleasant. A restaurant owner in France decided he’d finally had enough, putting up a sign proclaiming his resentment of bankers and gaining some positive publicity in the process.

After his restaurant Les Ecuries de Richelieu had an excellent year in 2015, owner Alexandre Callet decided he wanted to try to open a second restaurant. Still, despite sales of around €300,000 (about $334,000), multiple banks turned down his request for a €70,000 loan.

Frustrated by the situation, Callet struck back the only way he knew how: with a blackboard outside of his suburban Paris restaurant. On it he scrawled the French equivalent of “Dogs welcome; bankers banned (unless they pay an entry fee of €70,000).” “They have treated me like a dog, so I have denied them access,” he stressed, according to France’s The Local.

Callet says his statement is more than just an idle threat. “As soon as I see a banker that I recognize I won’t let them enter my restaurant,” he said. “A lot of bankers who turned me down know me. They come in here.” As for dogs, they are in for some good company: “My restaurant is in the Michelin guide and film stars come in here,” Callet said, explaining why he thinks he’s worthy of a larger investment.

If there’s any silver lining to the loan rejection, it’s that Callet’s anti-banker sentiment has garnered his restaurant international press. Now if he’d only be willing to also ban lawyers, politicians and people who use the word “literally” when they don’t actually mean “literally,” he might just have the most popular restaurant on the planet.

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