Dragon Den's Rachel slams 'dismal' Rotherham service. VOTE

FORMER Dragon’s Den star Rachel Elnaugh has launched a tirade worthy of her fire-breathing TV alter ego after an unhappy trip to a Rotherham “greasy spoon.”The entrepreneur, who appeared as one of the notoriously hard-to-please business &

FORMER Dragon’s Den star Rachel Elnaugh has launched a tirade worthy of her fire-breathing TV alter ego after an unhappy trip to a Rotherham “greasy spoon.”

The entrepreneur, who appeared as one of the notoriously hard-to-please business “dragons” on the popular BBC show until her own business crashed, published a no-holds-barred rant on her online blog condemning staff at a cafe in Rotherham town centre for asking her to switch off her laptop.

Having already “tweeted” several times on her personal Twitter feed about her less-than-enjoyable visit to the town, Rachel stormed: “It’s a ridiculously small incident, but to me it sums up everything that is wrong with this country,” before signing off: “Rotherham, I won’t be visiting you again any time soon.”

The main cause of her frustration appeared to be that staff had disapproved of her plugging her laptop into the cafe’s power socket after she dropped in—having failed to find a Starbucks or a Costa Coffee—for a cup of coffee and a toasted teacake.

In a post on her blog, headed Dismal Rotherham, Rachel, from Bakewell in Derbyshire, wrote: “Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know I had a dismal morning in Rotherham today...

“I took a walk around town on foot trying to find a coffee shop to kill a couple of hours in and was shocked at just how many retail units were either empty or in use as charity shops.

 

“Not a Starbucks or Costa to be found!

“I finally arrived at a dismal little greasy spoon cafe in the arcade along the walkway across the river from Tesco, just opposite Wilkinson’s.

“I ordered a milky coffee (in London we call that a latte) plus a toasted teacake, which arrived liberally spread with what seemed like marge, and proceeded to open my laptop to work on the manuscript for my next book.

“After a while, I noticed the woman (not sure if she was the cafe owner) leave the shop and gossip something to the fruit and veg man, who was selling bananas outside the shop, who then looked at me—not difficult to establish she had gone outside to have a moan about me using her juice for my computer.

“So I took my plate and cup up to the counter and ordered a hot chocolate plus a packet of bourbon biscuits—just to show goodwill.

“After a little while longer, the woman came up to me and said ‘You’ve had enough time on that love, we don't normally allow it,’ meaning my laptop.

“As the pensioner who sat across with his 75p cup of tea looked on, I was incredulous.

“There must have been 12 tables in the coffee shop—only three of them were occupied.

"I was about to buy some mineral water and invite the person I had been waiting for to join me there for another coffee.

“Needless to say, I packed up and walked out, but not before giving said woman my business card and telling her if she needed any advice to help improve her customer service be sure to call me.

“It’s a ridiculously small incident, but to me it sums up everything that is wrong with this country—the lack of entrepreneurial spirit, the view that customers are a nuisance rather than a business opportunity and the ‘Let’s go on strike rather than try to add value’ mentality that we are seeing hammer the last nail in the Royal Mail’s coffin.

“I am so passionate about empowerment through enterprise that I could cry at the dismal way most people approach business.

“If we want to rebuild our tattered and bankrupt economy, the starting point is a sea change in the attitude of our people.

“Oh and by the way, when I got back to my car I had received a parking ticket.

“Rotherham, I won’t be visiting you again any time soon."

Rachel Elnaugh was picked for the original line-up of Dragon’s Den thanks to the initial success of her £100 million business Red Letter Days.

But things turned sour when she was booted off the panel after the business went into administration in 2005.

Since then, she has focused on helping other entrepreneurs.

She plugged in for two hours without asking  says cafe owner

STAFF at the cafe attacked online by TV “dragon” Rachel Elnaugh this week denied that she had been given a raw deal.

Rachel did not name the cafe in her furious blog rant, but the Advertiser has established that it was the Riverside Cafe in the Rotherham’s Riverside Precinct.

When contacted by the Advertiser, the cafe’s manager asked not to be named, but insisted that Rachel had only been asked to turn off her laptop after powering it for two hours with the cafe’s electricity without ever asking permission.

She added: “She sat there for a couple of hours and did not even ask if she could use the electricity supply.

“She just plugged her computer in. She did buy a couple of drinks, but in the end I said to her ‘I think you’ve had long enough.’

“She had come in at about 9.20 and it was about 11.30.

“I was not horrible or anything, but she unplugged it, picked it up and threw her business card at me.

“She never said who she was.

“I was not nasty or anything, but I have to pay the electricity bill and she had used a couple of hours’ free supply.”