When it rains, it pours. Amidst increasing backlash and overwhelming criticism for how The Western Co. has been operating, the troubled café has since taken down their Facebook page — a purported admission of defeat.
Poor standards of service, a history of passive-aggressive reactions to critique, and an allegedly delusional business owner have brought the café massive flak in the past few days since a patron posted a long rant about his “hell of a horrible experience” at The Western Co.
Andy Wong recounted on Facebook how he and his friends were booted out by The Western Co. founder Larissa Yang over a miscommunication. TL;DR: Wong thought he could pay by NETS, Yang said cash only, Wong grumbled about it to his friends, Yang overreacted by chasing them out. Wong was shocked as he didn’t act uncivilly or said anything nasty to her that deserved an ejection.
In an exclusive interview with us however (ahem various publications, it’d be nice if you actually linked back to our article, TYVM) Yang insists that Wong acted with extreme hostility, and that he was “out to hurt the establishment”. According to her side of the story, he “flared up” and used abusive language at her staff, despite apologising to him. “We had no choice, but to ask the table to leave.”
In any case, not many believed her. Folks started to dig into past encounters (IRL and social media) with Yang and affirmed that she was, indeed, on a path towards self-destruction. And that she sorely needed to learn a bit of public relations.
Seth Lui vs The Western Co.
Popular food blogger Seth Lui today dealt another huge blow to the reputation of The Western Co — he alleges that Yang has been pretty slippery about paying him what they owe for an advertorial on his site. In fact, Lui has yet to see a single cent from the feature that his team did for the eatery.
You really should read his whole experience about the shady dealings (he’s taken it down; see why at the bottom of the article), but here’s another TL;DR sum-up.
- Yang approached Lui for an advertorial
- Lui’s team did the appropriate video and photoshoots
- Yang’s cheque bounces
- Yang promised to transfer funds
- Yang remained uncontactable for weeks when asked about payment
- The Western Co closes their Foch Road stall, only to re-open at Tyrwhitt Road. Still no payment to Lui
- Lui visits reopened joint, discuss arrangements to do new post
- Yang promises to make a bank transfer
- Still no payment till today
“Did The Western Co intentionally try to give us a bounce cheque so we would publish the article before realizing? Or did she change her mind after she realize they were going to ‘close permanently’?” Lui wrote.
Referencing Yang’s quote from our interview, Lui offers his own version of The Western Co. owner’s harrowing interjection.
Yang: “Do you really think we opened a business to chase customers out? We need a living. I have seven staff members to pay. I have rent to pay. Why would I ask him to leave for no good reason?”
Lui: “Do you think I wrote this article to chase F&B businesses out? We need a living. I have writers to feed. I have rent to pay. Why would I write this article to question The Western Co for no good reason?”
Mic drop. But not before saying that the café’s chicken and fish are average at best “like Tenderfresh”, and that there are cheaper alternatives to gooey melted cheese.
Before taking down their Facebook page however, Mothership caught a screengrab of The Western Co’s apology — it seems that they’ll be employing a social media agency to handle public relations from now on.
UPDATE: Seth Lui has since taken down his blogpost. The reason why is justified, but pretty sad though.