A Gourmet restaurant owner in Paris has banned all bankers from his gourmet eaterie - because he was turned down for a loan for £55,000. Alexandre Callet, 30, says his ‘reasonable requests’ to borrow money to open a second restaurant were repeatedly rejected by banks who ‘treated him like a dog’.
The refusal by banks to help him explains why so many French businesses are moving to London, Mr Callet said. He has now placed a blackboard outside his restaurant Les Ecuries de Richlieu reading: “Dogs welcome, bankers banned (unless they pay an entry fee of €70,000).”
He said his establishment in the leafy Paris suburb of Reuil-Malmaison was profitable, had film stars as customers and was named in the prestigious Michelin guide. He said: “I believe in reciprocity. I had to respond. If you hit me, I’ll hit you.
“As soon as I see a banker that I recognize I won’t let them enter my restaurant. “They have treated me like a dog, so I have denied them access.” Callet says he felt humiliated of because he was only asking the banks for a loan of 70,000 euros, which was ‘nothing’ compared to last year’s turnover 300,000 euros.
He added: “This is not just a kebab shop. My restaurant is in the Michelin guide and film stars come in here. A lot of bankers who turned me down know me. They come in here.” He was also turned down for a loan 20 times seven years ago, before one bank agreed to lend him money to open his first restaurant.
He said: “The way banks have treated me is a reflection of the shameful way business owners are treated in France. “I have never had financial problems and yet I find myself in this situation. Bankers are not doing their job.
“France has problems understanding this. That’s why London has become the sixth French city. “This is the problem with French socialism. We have more civil servants than anywhere in the world, we have a social welfare system that has a bigger budget than the American defence budget.
“There’s the 35-hour week. There is globalisation, yet our businesses are completely blocked. We can’t breathe.“I have yet to turn away a banker, but I will the moment I spot one.”