Salt Bae told staff to queue outside his restaurant and pose as customers, ex-employees claim.
Salt Bae, whose real name is Nusret Gökçe, is a Turkish butcher and restaurateur who became famous for his unique way of sprinkling salt on meat dishes, which went viral in 2017.
He has since expanded his restaurant chain globally and become a popular celebrity chef.
But despite his personal success, those who have worked for him have shed light on what it’s apparently like to work for Salt Bae.
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As per Insider, Salt Bae’s London restaurant, Nusr-Et, is facing seven lawsuits in two cities due to allegations of workplace violations and fear-based culture.
He also faces allegations of making employees wait outside and pose as customers to make the steakhouse appear more popular than it really is.
Insider has spoken to nine former employees from six of his restaurants around the world.
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A former bartender at the London restaurant has claimed that while it may look impressive from the outside, it is ‘s***’ on the inside.
This is consistent with the restaurant’s 2.8-star rating on Google, with some customers describing it as ‘McDonald’s for rich people’.
Former employees of Gökçe have also accused the steakhouse of having a toxic work culture, including unpredictable firings.
One bartender reported feeling like they were in the Hunger Games during their shift, as they never knew if they would be fired before it was over.
A former host at the London restaurant was allegedly advised by a friend in the hospitality industry not to take the job because of the environment, claiming that it was ‘very uncomfortable to be around’ Gökçe.
The same host alleged that only half of the staff hired were still working there two months after opening day.
Another employee at his Mykonos restaurant compared Gökçe to a dictator, while some employees claim that Gökçe would fall asleep on tables when he was tired, and workers would not know if they could leave until he woke up.
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According to Insider, a lawyer representing Salt Bae and his businesses said of the allegations: “The allegations are really nothing more than a re-hash of old lawsuits where the claims were disputed and have long since been settled.
“Unfortunately, high-profile restaurants and popular chefs are often targets for salacious and meritless claims. Nusret is no different.
“Nusret employs more than a thousand employees around the world – it is a shame that a few old lawsuits and some unflattering remarks should overshadow the tremendous amount of effort that goes into maintaining a global restaurant workforce, particularly through the pandemic.
“Or the contributions made by Chef Nusret in creating a mobile kitchen to provide over 6,000 hot meals to victims of the tragic earthquakes.”
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