Actress walks out on restaurant, wait staff applauds

By Tony Ng

AN ACTRESS and her boyfriend walked out on a casual dining restaurant in a huff, appalled at its poor service and a relatively sky-high charge for hot water.

To make matters worse, her actions generated claps and cheers from the restaurant's service staff, causing the actress to post her aggrieved account on microblogging site Twitter.

The incident, which started over a glass of hot water, occurred on Monday night when actress Joanne Peh and her American boyfriend, Bobby Tonelli visited Nando's at Tanglin Mall for dinner.

According to Peh, when she asked for a glass of hot water, the waiter replied that the restaurant does not serve it. However later on, the restaurant's manager said they can serve her the hot water but she will be charged $3.90 for it.

A bewildered Peh said on Twitter, "They charge hot water at the price of tea ($3.90) when bottled water costs $1.80? This is not right." She even pointed out the difference to the manager, she said.

Peh and her boyfriend then placed their orders but when it was still not "processed" 10 minutes later, the couple decided to walk out.

Peh said on Twitter, "They clapped when we walked out. In all honesty we'd have dropped it as another unfortunate experience if not for the fact that they applauded on our way out."

"The worst thing is the manager clapped too," she added.

For Peh, this was the first time she walked out of a restaurant fuming. "There really is a first for everything," she tweeted.

"Nando's Tanglin Mall really knows how to ruin customer service. There is no way I'm going back there again."

The restaurant later replied to Peh via Twitter, "We do appreciate and value all our guests' feedback. Your tweets highlighted some issues which we are currently looking into."

But Peh retorted, "Clearly you're not looking into it promptly enough because your manager claimed that many customers have made the same complaints."

America actor Tonelli also chipped in, "I think some training is needed at the Tanglin location. When customers are going to spend $50++ and get refused hot water, that's bad."

A Nando's spokesman told Chinese evening daily Wanbao that the restaurant has already apologised to Peh for the incident and that they are currently looking into it. Where necessary, action would also be taken.

Nando's Singapore manager Cai Huifen told the daily that the restaurant does not serve water but customers can buy bottled water at $1.80 each or a cup of hot tea at $3.90.

The manager said the staff failed to present this point clearly to Peh. This therefore caused Peh to have the impression that their restaurant charges $3.90 for hot water, which was not the case, Ms Cai said.

As for the the applause, Ms Cai told Wanbao that they would never allow service staff to present this kind of service attitude towards customers. The manager said that where necessary, staff will face disciplinary action.

Ms Cai added that Nando's appreciates and values their guests' feedback and would improve on their food quality and service level.