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A customer who complained after a disappointing dining experience while out with her family was mistakenly included in an email chain where staff discussed her grievances.

Rachael Avis visited The Garden Bistro restaurant with her three children and parents but was unhappy with the service provided and felt the bread accompanying several of the items ordered was stale.

When she got home she wrote a negative review on a local Facebook group, which she says attracted dozens of comments.

The review was later removed, prompting Rachael to contact the restaurant directly by email.

However, rather than receiving an expected apology, the mum of three from Midlothian was stunned to find that she had several emails in her inbox where restaurant staff discussed the merits of her complaint and questioned her patience.

Rachael told Edinburgh Live : “We walked over to the bistro for some lunch. On arrival, I stood at the host station for some time before I entered the bistro to ask to be seated.

“We were told there were no tables, so I asked if I could sit at a table to the right of the host station, and the waiter said yes.

“The table was dirty, so I asked for a cloth and the guy said he would bring one. He didn’t. We sat anyway and waited for menus.”

Things didn’t end there, as she explained: “When the waitress came back to see us, I told her that the bread tasted stale and none of us could eat it.

“We had ordered two times beans on toast, one scrambled egg on toast, and I ordered soup with bread. All the same bread and all stale.

“The waitress said she would tell her manager, and returned to say she had let them know and here was our bill.”

Rachael said she was let down after forking out £56 for the meal, although several other items including hot drinks for everyone and snacks accounted for the overall price.

In the email correspondence, seen by Edinburgh Live, the team at the bistro discussed how several of the issues Rachael complained about could have been avoided if she had been more “patient.”

They also accused her of “causing trouble,” and eventually decided to pay her a £10 voucher.

Rachael declined the voucher and The Garden Bistro later donated £100 to charity as a way of apology.

Responding to the review and mistakenly including Rachael in their emails, a spokesperson for CEC-Catering said: “The original statement posted on social media by Rachael Avis was misrepresented when she stated she paid £60.00 for coffee and beans on toast, when her family had 13 items from the menu for £56.00, not just coffee and beans on toast.

“We will always try to deal with any issues when they arise and indeed, usually issues that arise about our business would be fed back to us directly to be addressed.

“However, by posting on The Friends of Saughton Park Facebook page, this instigated a barrage of abuse for myself, our business and our staff that has lasted four days which has been distressing and upsetting for all involved.

“By mistake last night, Rachael was copied in on an internal, personal email. Immediately realising this she was contacted, with an apology, and asked to delete said email as it contains personal and private information including personal contact details.

“Rachael then took the decision to post the e-mail in full on several social media platforms, which is disappointing as she has been keen to point out that she is also a business owner, and I would have hoped understood that mistakes do happen.”