Culinary crime capers or absentmindedness? The vegetarian haven Warung Ijo in MacPherson has gone viral recently after it found itself entangled in a series of alleged dine-and-dash incidents.
Over the past four months, the restaurant says it has experienced a rather unappetizing trend: customers devouring their dishes and making a swift exit without parting ways with their precious dollars. The last of these incidents, however, took an unexpected turn, proving that not all dine-and-dashers are hardened criminals.
On Saturday, Warung Ijo took to Facebook in a now-deleted post, seeking the help of the online community to unmask two elusive diners who had performed the art of the “quick chew and adieu.” An attached photo revealed the duo and their outstanding bill of S$61.90 – a feast-worthy amount for a meal that never got settled.
According to reports from the Chinese evening daily Shin Min, the duo had visited the vegetarian establishment at 11am, placing orders for both dine-in meals and a S$13.20 gado-gado dish for takeaway. They did not settle their bill that day.
When reporters from Shin Min visited the restaurant later that day, Manager Huang confirmed the incident, expressing uncertainty about whether the patrons were intentional culprits or merely absent-minded in the bill-paying department. This marked the fifth incident since the restaurant’s grand opening in August, leading to a cumulative loss of around S$300.
Huang lamented the burden shouldered by the staff, explaining that while the restaurant owner graciously footed the bill for the initial incident, subsequent cases saw the duty shift to the hardworking team on duty.
“It is not a small amount, and we are tired of paying on their behalf,” Huang exclaimed, feeling the fiscal burn.
In a bid to curb the dine-and-dash drama, Warung Ijo adopted a new process where customers first place their orders via a QR code and settle the bill at the counter post-feast. Apparently, the previous method of paying upfront caused some grumbles, akin to the dilemma of having to eat your veggies before dessert.
Despite these precautions, the recent incident slipped through the cracks. Huang confessed that the lapse in attention occurred during a momentary lull in their bustling operation.
Thankfully, this incident ended on a positive note. A later Facebook update revealed that the elusive diners had contacted the restaurant and coughed up the cash for their feast.
“We are glad it’s a case of negligence,” the restaurant exclaimed.