A Melbourne cafe has reportedly had to hire a security guard after a sign taking a cheeky pop at supporters of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews led to threats against the business’ staff and owners.
For the past three weeks or so, Moorabbin cafe Arcobar had a sign up that read: “Do you support Dan? Add $1 to your order.”
The surcharge applies to anyone “who thinks Dan is doing a great job”, the sign said.
Speaking on Nine’s Today show, Arcobar co-owner Franz Madlener said the sign was not necessarily political, but the equivalent of a ‘swear jar’ for people who have been expressing how lucky businesses like his are.
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“They feel that if they buy a cup of coffee, they have the right to lecture us that we should feel grateful we get to open in a couple of weeks’ time, and we should feel lucky,” he said.
“I just don’t think for $3 that gives them the right to lecture us.”
The cafe has not been enforcing the surcharge. But, Madlener said many customers have seen the humour in the initiative and chucked an extra dollar in the tip jar.
All the cash is divided between staff members.
But over the past day or two, things have gone “horribly wrong”, Madlener said.
What started as a harmless protest has turned nasty, with the cafe receiving threats against both the owners and staff.
“The level of abuse and vile anger and personal attacks on the business, me and the staff was completely over the top,” Madlener said.
“It was only ever meant to have been tongue-in-cheek.”
People have called the business saying they’re going to come and throw rocks through the window, or paint all over the shopfront.
Madlener has had to hire a security guard to protect his business overnight, he told Today.
“It’s been a long night.”
Now, the police have got involved. They’ve been monitoring some of the threats that have come through social media, and have advised Madlener to take the sign down.
“They strongly suggested we take the sign away, because it was inciting anger,” Madlener said.
He has followed the advice, saying his main concern is to keep the cafe’s staff safe.
This all comes as Melbournites anticipate further relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions this weekend.
Currently, hospitality businesses are due to be able to open to on-site diners from November 2.
But, last weekend the Premier suggested that if numbers remain low, that could be brought forward to October 26, the reopening date in the government’s reopening roadmap.
Today brings five new COVID-19 cases, and no deaths. The 14-day rolling average is now 6.1.