SINGAPORE: A Japanese tourist, Junko Shinba, and her group found themselves in a dispute over the price of a crab dish at Seafood Paradise in Clarke Quay.
What started as a desire to savor Singapore’s famous chili crab turned into a culinary ordeal.
Shinba claims that the restaurant staff failed to adequately explain the pricing for the Alaskan King Crab, leading to a shockingly high bill.
She alleges that the waiter recommended the crab for S$30 without specifying that it was priced per 100 grams.
Upon receiving the bill, the group was astonished to find that their chili crab dish alone cost a whopping S$938.
The total bill amounted to S$1,322.37, leaving them speechless.
Shinba and her companions were also taken aback when they received three plates full of crab, despite not being informed that the entire crab would be cooked exclusively for them.
“None of us were informed that the whole crab would be cooked only for us, as some other restaurants serve crabs partially,” she told AsiaOne.
She added that “there were three plates full of crab and many other dishes, we were unable to finish everything.”
Files a police report for “overpriced” dish
In response to the escalating situation, Shinba said she asked a waiter to call the police to mediate.
When the police arrived, the restaurant staff attempted to reassure her by presenting a receipt from another customer who had ordered a similar dish to prove that the pricing was consistent.
Ultimately, the restaurant manager offered Shinba a goodwill discount of S$107.40, equivalent to the cost of 400 grams of crab, as she claimed they lacked sufficient funds to settle the bill.
Customer made “Innacurate claims”
Restaurant operator Paradise Group released a clarification statement on Facebook, Wednesday (Sep 20).
In their post, they asserted that there were discrepancies in the account provided by the group of customers to the media.
“We are aware of a recent customer report regarding the pricing of our Alaskan King Crab at Seafood Paradise, Clarke Quay.
“We would like to address this issue with utmost transparency and clarity,” they stated.
The Paradise Group, which owns Seafood Paradise, asserts that their staff “clearly communicated” the price and weight of the Alaskan King Crab to the diners when they placed their order.
The restaurant operator said the tourists picked the Alaskan King Crab after being shown the types of crab available on the menu that day.
It added that its Seafood Paradise employee had twice informed the diners that its Alaskan King Crab, one of the largest edible crabs in the world weighing up to 5kg, was priced the same as its Scotland Snow Crab – at S$26.80 per 100g.
The average market price for Alaskan King Crab in the city is reportedly between S$25.80 and S$29.80 per 100 grams.
The restaurant maintains that the crab weighed about 3.5kg in total.
“To prevent any miscommunication, the staff even brought the whole Alaskan King crab to the table before preparation.
“Customers were seen taking photos and even selfies with the live Alaskan King Crab,” it said.
Paradise Group said it chose to release CCTV screenshots to substantiate its statement, adding that it wanted to address the issue “with utmost transparency and clarity”.
“Customers finished most of the dishes and told the restaurant manager that the food was great.
At the end of the meal, customers refused to settle the bill, hence the police were involved to mediate the situation,” said Paradise Group.
Paradise Group also noted that live seafood is typically sold and served as a whole item since dividing it into portions “would render the remaining portion no longer live seafood.”
“At Seafood Paradise and all other Paradise Group 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.
As much as we value all our customers, we also find it important to uphold Paradise Group’s reputation and protect all our employees,” it said.
The Consumers Association of Singapore is now involved in investigating the matter, highlighting the need for clear communication and transparency in restaurant pricing.
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