Kwan Thai restaurant owner said letting customers down was ‘awful’ after power cut cancelled Friday night party bookings

Owners of the Kwan Thai restaurant in St Nicholas Street, Lesley and Amka Sathuphap

Owners of the Kwan Thai restaurant in St Nicholas Street, Lesley and Amka Sathuphap - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich restaurant owner said she felt “awful” having to turn customers away on a busy Friday night when a power cut crippled her business.

Lesley Sathuphap, aged 42, who runs Kwan Thai with husband Amkha, 49, was left in the dark when the electricity was cut off at around 6.40pm.

And as a result the restaurant’s gas supply was shut down as well – meaning kitchen staff couldn’t cook any food at all.

Other properties were affected by the power cut, but none more so than the Thai restaurant.

“You can’t use the extractor fan with the electricity off,” Mrs Sathuphap said, adding health and safety procedures mean without a working fan you can’t cook with gas. The supply therefore gets shut off automatically.

With no idea when the power would come back on staff were left with no choice but to turn reluctantly many pre-booked and walk-in customers away – including one group of 18 ready to have their Christmas party.

“There was no warning, everything just went off. The restaurants opposite us were still open,” Mrs Sathuphap said.

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“We phoned up and were told it could be off for up to four hours.

“We had most of our tables booked in between 6.30pm and 8pm so we had to turn most people away. Some people had started eating already but we couldn’t cook their main courses.

“I felt bad we were letting people down. The customers were very understanding but we had to be honest and tell them how it was.

“We feel bad that it has ruined people’s nights out. A lot of people couldn’t get into other restaurants.”

As well as being faced with disappointed customers Mrs Sathuphap said the business had probably lost in excess of £1,500.

She said: “It would make a big difference if we couldn’t claim because we would still have all our bills to pay.

“We really need our Christmas trade because we have tax to pay and we really need the Christmas trade to save up to pay for that.”

“We haven’t had this problem quite like this before on a Friday night. It has had a really big effect on us.”

A spokesman for UK Power Networks said: “UK Power Networks confirms that, due to a fault in the St Nicholas Street area, 22 customers experienced an interruption to their power supply at 6.39pm on Friday, December 5.

“Engineers arrived quickly on site to locate and repair the fault and all customers were restored by 8.43pm.

“We understand how frustrating it can be to lose power and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”