Restaurant refutes tourists' claims of not being told price and weight of $938 crab
A group of Japanese tourists at a seafood restaurant in Clarke Quay were so shocked at their final bill that they requested the eatery to call the police after refusing to pay for the meal.
At the centre of their dispute was a crab dish that cost $938. Their total bill was $1,322.37.
According to the group, the Seafood Paradise restaurant did not inform them about the crab's price and its total weight upon ordering.
The restaurant, however, has since released CCTV footage of the five tourists' dining at their establishment, and stated that it shows otherwise. The incident occurred on Aug 19, according to AsiaOne.
The group ordered a live Alaskan King crab, along with other dishes.
One of the diners, 50-year-old Junko Shinba, said she was "speechless" when they received the bill.
She claimed that the restaurant did not inform their table that it would be preparing the whole crab for them, nor did it inform them of the crab's total weight and price.
She added that the staff who "strongly recommended" the Alaskan King crab only told the table it would cost $30 – but failed to clarify that it was $30 per 100g. The crab weighed approximately 3.5kg total.
Police officers attended to the incident after Shinba asked a staff member to call the police.
The restaurant manager offered the tourists a S$107.40 discount, and Shinba's friend eventually paid for the meal.
Though the matter had been resolved, Shinba then escalated the incident to the Singapore Tourism Board, which in turn raised the matter to the Consumers Association of Singapore.
On Sept 20, Paradise Group posted a statement on Facebook addressing the incident and clarifying their side of the story, along with photos from the restaurant's CCTV footage to "rectify" Shinba's "inaccurate claims".
The restaurant said it was "deeply upset" by the tourists' "inaccurate claims", which it felt were aimed at tarnishing the restaurant's reputation.
"Hence, we are left with no choice but to showcase photos extracted from our CCTV footage to substantiate our statement," it said.
The restaurant said it informed the tourists twice of the crab’s price and weight, at one point even comparing it to the similarly priced Scotland snow crab, while pointing to the menu. The Scotland snow crab's price of $26.80 per 100g is "clearly indicated" in the menu, the restaurant added.
CCTV footage shows a male Seafood Paradise staff pointing at the menu while at the group’s table.
The restaurant said its staff also brought out and showed the tourists the whole live crab before it was prepared, prompting them to take photos of the crab.
This could be seen in two photos from the restaurant's CCTV footage.
Prepared three ways
The restaurant prepared the crab dish in three different ways – chilli crab, salted egg yolk and truffle egg white – without charging them extra, it said.
Shinba had told AsiaOne that she was caught unaware when three plates of crab arrived at her table. She said she did not expect to have been served the whole crab as other restaurants usually serve crab “partially”.
She added that the table was overwhelmed by the amount of food and could not finish eating everything.
However, the restaurant pointed out that the group finished most of the dishes, and even told the manager the food was great.
It added: "We wish to highlight that live seafood is typically sold and served as a whole item, as dividing it into partial portions would render the remaining portion no longer live seafood."
"At the end of the meal, the customers refused to settle the bill, hence the police were involved to mediate the situation," the restaurant added.
"One of the customers mentioned he didn’t have enough money to pay and asked what can be done to help."
The restaurant stated that while they value all their customers, it was important for them to clarify what had happened – to uphold Paradise Group's reputation and protect their employees.
"At Seafood Paradise and all other Paradise Group of restaurants, we consistently uphold a commitment to transparent pricing with a focus on customer service and food quality. Our staff will do their best to communicate clearly to the customers and welcome any queries."