Because of that, the poor cashier tending to him had to pick up the slack and pay the S$24 service charge from his own pocket.
The incident took place Sunday night at a Thai restaurant at Nex shopping mall in Serangoon Central.
Restaurant manager Mr Goh said that the customer had brought his family there for dinner to celebrate Mothers’ Day.
The group of 8 racked up a S$240 bill, but the customer refused to pay the service charge and left with his family.
“My store was tight on manpower. 3 months ago we started asking customers to pay at the counter. This is the first time I’ve met such an unreasonable customer in my 10 years working in the food and beverage industry.”
The cashier of the day, Mr Tan, said the customer had patronised the restaurant in the past.
That day he was “laughing and smiling” with his family, but his face changed when he saw the bill.
“He suddenly said he was not happy with the service and not happy that he had to personally go to the counter to pay the bill. He said it wasn’t necessary that he pay 10 percent service charge, so he gave me S$260 in cash and left.”
The 50-year-old customer however, tells a contrasting tale.
He said he had gone to the Thai restaurant 3 times in the past and his family liked the food.
“That night we were happily celebrating Mothers’Day, but when I raised my hand to ask for refill of drinks and rice the service staff were standing at the corner and chit-chatting away and we had to wait for 2 to 3 minutes before someone came to serve us.”
He said he wanted to just let the issue rest, until he was told he had to personally make payment at the counter.
“That’s when I became angry. I’ve never had to go to the counter to make payment when I eat at a restaurant. The service was poor so I refused to pay the service charge.”
But restaurant manager Mr Goh said he is determined to stand up for his staff even if it means facing the sack.
“That day was Mothers’ Day. My staff didn’t have the chance to celebrate with their mothers, then they had to meet this kind of customer. As a result, the cashier was supposed to top up and pay the service charge, but I will think of another way to resolve the matter. Even if I have to lose my job, I must stick my neck out for the staff.”
Mr Goh said that even if the service that night was poor, it was because there were many diners and the customer should have been more understanding.
“He spent S$260, so I don’t know why he must make things difficult for the staff over S$24.”