Platform 1094 has responded to an allegation posted on Facebook by a father who was left distressed following an attempt to celebrate his son’s birthday at the Harry Potter-themed cafe.
Edroos Alsagoff took to social media on Sunday (Nov 1) to express his discontent with the Serangoon Road bistro, implying that his family was treated differently from other patrons.
According to his post, he did not manage to make a reservation despite repeated attempts to contact Platform 1094 by phone and by Facebook. It was his son’s birthday, and they wanted to celebrate at the themed cafe in full outfits as Hogwarts students.
“I’ve been calling to make reservations since morning but to no avail. Lines have not been answered,” Edroos wrote.
“It’s fine. I come by and I wanted to wait for a slot. I’m fine with waiting however long it takes.”
He said he was willing to wait in line for a table to open up, understanding that the restaurant had to comply with occupancy limits due to safe distancing. However, the cafe’s greeter kept turning his family away and mentioned that there would be no other alternative arrangement, he claimed.
Edroos then went on to say that other customers — who did not have reservations as well — were treated differently by the greeter. He mentioned that a Chinese family and a Caucasian family were offered outdoor tables if they were willing to wait.
“This immediately caught my attention as this solution or alternative was not offered to my family in the span of the 10 minutes that was spent bickering over reservations and overlapping time slots,” he wrote.
“Was it discrimination? What was it?” he questioned, demanding an investigation into the “preferential treatment”. Eventually, another Platform 1084 employee offered Edroos and his family a table but it was unclear if they dined at the cafe in the end.
‘An unfortunate event’
Platform 1094 owner Fresh Fruits Lab Group responded to AsiaOne’s queries earlier today (Nov 2) and clarified that it was a case of miscommunication.
“It was an unfortunate event where communication error between our staff and the customer turned into a situation of racism in the eye of the customer,” Fresh Fruits Lab Group said, asserting that it takes racial discrimination seriously as a “multi-racial company”.
“We would like to apologise on this end and will continuously train to ensure better communication by our staff in future.”
Following internal investigations, the company noted that Edroos’ family had insisted on having a table despite being told that there were no seats available at the establishment. Customers who had been waiting in line behind Edroos’ family then asked if they could queue for an outdoor table.
“No table was offered to the customers behind (Edroos’) family and [the former were] placed in queue. However, the family [mistakenly thought] that a table was given to them at this point and got very angry,” wrote Fresh Fruits Labs Group in a statement.
It noted that a table was soon available and was offered to Edroos and his family, but according to the company, the family turned it down and threatened to publicise the incident on social media.
Since Edroos’ post was widely shared, Fresh Fruit Labs Group has taken issue with the “hate speech and vulgarity” directed at the cafe and its staff.
“We will not tolerate any abuse and will be making a police report if the situation gets worse,” the company cautioned.