A London restaurant owner is standing firm amid accusations of ‘guilt-tripping’ customers who opt for tap water instead of purchasing drinks.

Morten P. Ortwed, the proprietor of Köd London, a renowned Danish Steakhouse located in East London, is facing some scrutiny after patrons claimed they were made to feel guilty for choosing tap water over other beverage options.

Despite the controversy, Ortwed, 38, remains unapologetic, defending his establishment’s unique approach to encourage charitable donations. He believes it’s all in good humor and for a noble cause.

**A Playful Nudge Towards Charity**

When Jane Breeds, 27, and her partner visited Köd London for their all-you-can-eat roast dinner on November 12, they were prepared to savor a sumptuous meal. What they didn’t anticipate was finding a cheeky note in the restaurant’s menu.

The menu read, “You can have just tap water but please remember we’re running a restaurant, not a charity — wink, wink, we need to make money.” It then playfully suggested, “You know who is running a charity, though? Red Cross is! If you want to have just tap water, we encourage you to donate $1.24 to the Red Cross. Everybody wins.”

Breeds and her partner, taken aback by the suggestion, opted for tap water intentionally. However, they were pleasantly surprised when the servers didn’t question their choice and promptly served them tap water. Despite the playful message, they received excellent service and left a generous 15% tip on their $74 bill, although they chose not to donate.

**A Friendly Twitter Exchange**

Breeds couldn’t resist sharing her unique experience on social media. She tweeted, “Made a point of not ordering drinks at Köd Steakhouse by Liverpool Street after seeing this on the menu. Wild behavior lol,” accompanied by a photo of the restaurant’s menu rule.

In response, Ortwed acknowledged the attention and tweeted back, “Thanks for the attention. Tap water is still free, Red Cross donation is optional!”

Breeds continued the conversation, expressing her concern that the restaurant’s approach might discourage people from ordering drinks. Ortwed maintained a professional tone, saying, “You are the first we have heard a negative comment from. But we will take it into consideration in our evaluation. Thank you for the feedback.”

**Promoting Charity and Business**

Ortwed, who also serves as a Red Cross ambassador, sees his restaurant’s approach as an opportunity to promote charitable donations while ensuring the sustainability of his business. He believes that encouraging patrons to contribute to a good cause shouldn’t be seen in a negative light.

He points out that Köd London can offer its unique “Sunday special,” an all-you-can-eat roast, thanks to the revenue generated from drink sales. While Breeds appreciates the charitable intention behind the request, she felt that it could have been conveyed more tastefully.

**Danish Humor Meets British Tastes**

Ortwed, originally from Denmark and Norway, acknowledges that his restaurant’s approach may be influenced by Danish humor, which might not always resonate with British diners. Nevertheless, he remains firm in his decision not to change the menu’s wording based on one person’s disagreement.

In a world where businesses often strive to stand out, Köd London certainly manages to do so with its playful approach to encouraging charitable donations. While opinions may vary on the matter, Ortwed’s commitment to both his restaurant and the Red Cross remains unwavering.

As Köd London continues to serve its delectable offerings, the debate over its unique menu message raises questions about the fine line between humor, charity, and customer experience.