Seafood Paradise overcharging Japanese tourist S$938 for crab saga – whose side are you on?

I trust that by now, your social media feed has been inundated with articles regarding the recent saga transpiring at the Clarke Quay outlet of Seafood Paradise, where a Japanese tourist called the police for being charged S$938 for crab. So whose side are you on? Here’s my two cents.

seafood paradise - restaurant front
seafood paradise - restaurant front

The Seafood Paradise outlet along the Singapore River recently opened in July 2023, and the establishment belongs to the Paradise Group of restaurants. On their Facebook page, they had posted a series of photos captured from their CCTV footages on the night of 19 Aug 2023.

seafood paradise - cctv1

In the first picture, you can see the service staff in black, explaining to the table of 5 the menu details at 10.56pm. 4 minutes later, you can see the same staff appearing with the live Alaskan King crab held within a plastic container.

seafood paradise - cctv2
seafood paradise - cctv2

Almost immediately, the 2 adult men (orange shirt and the black ‘The North Face’ tee) were captured snapping pictures and taking selfies with the majestic-looking Alaskan King Crab. Almost an hour later, you can see the table full of food. The adults seemed to have eaten their fill while the young adult is still seen enjoying his meal.

seafood paradise - menu details

Now, I went to Seafood Paradise’s website and found the PDF file of their à la carte menu, and on it, it shows ‘Seasonal Price’ under the Alaskan King Crab item. Paradise Group has clarified that the staff had communicated twice to the customers that the price of the Alaskan King Crab was the same as the Scotland Snow Crab, which was S$26.80 per 100g.

He had also conveyed to the patrons that the weight of that magnificent crustacean measured 3.5kg. While this may be a customary practice in Japan and not so in our country, I couldn’t help but find it amusing when the tourists assumed that the restaurant would provide them with a portion of the crab rather than the entire specimen.

One may wonder how the restaurant intends to sell the crab as live seafood if it has already been bisected; after all, the crab is no Superman.

Furthermore, the tourists had made a specific request for 3 distinct cooking styles: chilli crab, salted egg yolk, and truffle egg white. Just envision how pathetic the portioning of the dish would have been had the restaurant used only half of the crab.

seafood paradise - comments

Netizens were divided. Some were on the tourist’s side, asserting that the restaurant should have taken the initiative to calculate and present a clear breakdown of the crab’s total cost. A commenter even suggested that cultural differences might have led to miscommunication in this situation.

Others rallied to defend Seafood Paradise, contending that the tourists themselves could have proactively sought clarification from Seafood Paradise rather than placing sole responsibility on the establishment.

As a person who was previously in the F&B industry, I am definitely on Paradise Groups’s side. We may have heard the saying “Customers are always right.” Well, the service staff deserve to be treated equally as well. And no, customers are not always right!

I’m delighted that Paradise Group has made themselves very clear and are on their staff’s side— bravo!

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