The shocking incidents on Friday night in Paris have made me think about this industry slightly more deeply than usual.
Restaurants began life as places to revive, feel welcome, feel comfortable, well fed and restored. The last thing you expect to feel in a restaurant is scared.
When terrorists choose restaurants to attack, they are identifying the softest most vulnerable target. This makes it all the more deplorable in my eyes.
I was reminded over the weekend of the fact that terrorism has plagued in the restaurant industry many times before.
In the 1970s in London, it was not unusual for restaurants to be held to ransom by the IRA, bombing and shooting and following up with extortion demands. In fact, between 1974 and 1975 there were 40 bombs exploded in London, killing 35 and injuring hundreds more. Many of these featured restaurants and hotels.
In 1975 the now legendary Scott’s in Mount St, Mayfair was subject to one such attack, bombed (killing one and injuring 15 others) and then attacked with a drive by shooting the following week.
The resulting police chase culminated with the Balcombe Street Siege.
I think it’s worth remembering the industry we are in, hospitality. We trade in happiness, warmth and generosity. The very things a terrorist wants to undermine.