An Italian restaurant in Bali’s hip Canggu area has been facing the wrath of netizens after a sign on display at the restaurant has gone viral, asking drivers from the Indonesian app, Go-Jek to wait outside.
While Go-Jek is best known for its ride-hailing feature, the app offers a range of other services including Go-Food, where customers can order food delivery from their pick of restaurants.
La Casetta, located in Umalas, has been flooded with angry online reviews as backlash for the sign. Here’s a translation of the controversial notice for all the non-Indonesian speakers out there:
Please wait outside of the restaurant after putting in your order at the cashier.
Commentators have tagged the sign as discriminatory—an issue that has been known to earn viral-levels of attention in Indonesia, but usually with domestic workers. (Remember the picture of the domestic worker sadly watching on as the family she’s working for eats without her?)
Go-Jek drivers are people too, who are giving the restaurant money, and should not be treated as second-rate citizens, forced to wait outside, comments like these (translated from Indonesian) are arguing:
Ojol (online motorcycle taxi drivers) are also human.
The drivers are not begging, or beggars. They are also paying. What’s the difference with them and other customers? They are also paying rupiah.
The negative comments prompted a response from the restaurant’s management, which appears to have posted an apology for the sign on their Facebook page.
However, it seems the apology post inadvertently invited even more negative comments and the restaurant now appears to have deactivated their Facebook page since the incident.
A screenshot of the apology was published by the Tribun News Network before the Facebook page went dark.
“We apologize for any inconvenience. We did not intend to discriminate against any of our customers. But beforehand there had also been an inconvenience caused by a driver.”
The apology continued that their restaurant is small and that it was the staff that put up the sign.
“As for the writing that has caused discomfort, it was in fact, from the initiative of the staff. We apologize if there is anything that causes discomfort.
“We want to explain that our restaurant is small, with limited space. Kitchen and staff will take longer to prepare all orders for customers, whether to be eaten here, takeaway, or ordered from an online motorcycle taxi driver, when the restaurant has a lot of orders.
“And due to space constraints, we intend to use a queue number system when the restaurant is busy. When an order is finished, our wait staff will deliver it to where the drivers are waiting.
“We hope all customers and drivers can understand and we soon hope to provide a larger space. For awhile, please understand and cooperate together. We will always try our best to find the best solution for us, and all of our customers, no exceptions.”
UPDATE (June 9): La Casetta has responded to Coconuts Bali‘s request for comment, with the following statement.
We are shocked and sad about what is happening and how the whole story got viral Indonesia wide spreading a message of discrimination that is very far from our philosophy.
It was never ever our intention to discriminate against somebody and we feel very sorry that the drivers got offended!
We are a small restaurant and our busy time is mostly in the evening. Often it happens that all the tables are occupied and there are 7 Go Jek drivers at the same time in front of the bar waiting for the deliveries which makes is hard for our team to move and not possible for our other customers to reach the bar.
This difficulty made us arrange a meeting with all the team to find a solution and we made a system for the drivers to make everybody’s work easier by giving them a number after they placed the order and bringing the food to them when it’s ready.
Of course this system is only for busy days when there is no space inside the restaurant. All the drivers were totally fine with the system and it made our work in the restaurant way easier.
The writing that caused all the publicity was made by one of our team members without any approval from the management thinking that it was helpful to manage the situation that we had already found a solution for. Of course not agreeing on the message as soon as we saw the sign we directly removed it shortly after it was put in the restaurant but it was already too late and it had gone viral
What was written and the way it was written was unacceptable and we understand that the drivers feel offended and deeply apologize!
In our statement in the Tribun we also mentioned an incident that happened last week with one Go Jek driver who started to scream inside the restaurant saying bad words because he was upset about the food taking too long. In the public statement we asked sorry to the drivers that sometimes the food takes some time but the philosophy of our restaurant is to provide fresh food, not fast food that sometimes takes a while to prepare. We totally respect all the drivers and their work but we also want us and our work to be respected.
We and our team are doing our job same like the drivers do theirs and we have to make it easy for everybody. We will do our best to provide a sitting area for the drivers for busy days in the future and of corse drivers can enter the restaurant as they always could just on busy days we ask for cooperation and to please wait for the food in the outside area as in all the other small restaurants as well.
We hope the drivers will except our apology for the writing!
Editor’s Note: Statement has been edited for clarity.