How Hawksmoor turned a £4,000 mistake into a PR triumph

Chris Losh

Chris Losh

16 May 2019

How would you feel if you or a staff member made a mistake that cost your business four grand?

Angry? Embarrassed? Mortified? In fear of getting sacked?

Probably a combination of all four.

So well played, Hawksmoor Manchester. Because that’s just what happened to them last night – and they’ve turned a loss-making staff error into a PR triumph.

The mistake occurred at their Deansgate restaurant on Wednesday night, when a diner ordered a £260 bottle of Pichon Comtesse de Lalande and was accidentally given a bottle of Le Pin worth £4,500.

Nobody noticed, the customer (unsurprisingly) loved it, and it wasn’t until later that the mistake became clear.

Hawksmoor founder Will Beckett reckons the group sells wine of this standard ‘maybe once a quarter’, so to sell it at a sizable loss must have been galling.

But the venue has done any swearing in private and come out all smiles, writing on their Twitter account ‘To the customer who accidentally got given a bottle of Le Pin, we hope you enjoyed your evening. To the member of staff who gave it away, chin up. One-off mistakes happen and we love you anyway’.

It’s a reaction that’s played well on social media and ensures that the restaurant has been generously treated by the national press, too.

Beckett assured Imbibe that the staff member had not been quietly sacked off camera.

The two bottles, it must be said, don’t look remotely similar, beyond, as Beckett put it, ‘They’re both 2001 Bordeaux and there’s a "P" in there somewhere’.’

Robert Parker gave 2001 Le Pin 98 points in 2004, and the cheapest price Imbibe could find for it on Wine-Searcher was £1,400 for a half-bottle. In Switzerland.

Most UK merchants are selling cases of six bottles for £18,000 in bond.

With a £3,000+ wine sold at a 90% discount, it’s perhaps no wonder that diners on social media have been mischievously wondering when the promotion will be repeated.

‘The person who did this is mortified, but we’ve supported her to the hilt,’ said Beckett. ‘But you can be sure that the relentless piss-taking stage is coming.’

 

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