Feng Shui Inn’s Thousand-dollar Fish

A diner who wanted to be known only as “Mr Liu” went to the Feng Shui Inn restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa with four friends from Hong Kong on June 12.

Liu wanted to order a Soon Hock or Marble Goby, but when told that the restaurant had run out of it, he went with a waiter’s recommendation and ordered a Sultan fish instead.

He told the Chinese evening newspaper Lianhe Wanbao that the waiter did not tell him the price of the fish, but he assumed it would be about the same price as Soon Hock, which costs about S$90/- per kg.

Liu said he and his friends got a shock when they received a bill for S$1,224/- for the 1.8kg fish.

He complained and received a 15 per cent discount. But his main grouse was that the waiter did not let him know the price of the Sultan fish when he recommended it.

When contacted, RWS spokesman Robin Goh explained that Feng Shui Inn serves a very premium clientele. He said “It is not always appropriate to state menu prices to high-end customers who have come to expect certain discretion, especially when they entertain high-level guests.”

For customers who are not familiar with the restaurant’s menu, the staff is trained to check prices with them and to offer the information to those who ask, he claimed.

He added it is not uncommon for their customers to order items costing more than S$1,000/- but he conceded there may have been a “lapse of judgment” concerning Liu’s group.

Consumers Association of Singapore president Yeo Guat Kwang said the onus is on the restaurant to let the customer know the price so that he can make an informed choice.

The aptly-named Robin Goh doesn’t really doesn’t need to behave like a birdbrain really.

I don’t mean to teach him how to suck eggs but all restaurants have to do is

  • make sure there are menus
  • menus should have prices
  • granted, prices of certain items may fluctuate due to supply and demand – in this case show an indication of what the market price range may be
  • if seasonal or “special” items are available but are not listed on the menu, inform customers by printing table tent cards and placing these cards on each table
  • have menus with prices which you hand to the hosts and menu without prices which you hand to the guests.

Come on, running a restaurant is no rocket science. Even a birdbrain can do it.

But then again, maybe not.

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