S’pore restaurant owner shames customers on Instagram for not showing up

The eatery's PR agency reps also posted half their positive reviews on Facebook.

Joshua Lee | May 16, 2018 @ 02:20 pm

[Update: We have updated the article to include Yang’s statement. You can read it below.]

Scissorspaperstove is a local restaurant that serves “meticulously curated tapas, mains, desserts and handcrafted cocktails”.

Its Facebook page also boasts an average review of 4.9 stars, aggregated from a grand total of nine reviews:

Sounds otherwise fine, right? Like your average new eatery.

Untagging bad reviews from Instagram

But it has come to our attention that Scissorspaperstove has allegedly untagged themselves from several Instagram posts that did not present them in as favourable a light as they might have liked.

For example, this post mentioned that “prices are honestly on the higher end”:

✨Free tapas with every main course purchased at the newly opened @ScissorsPaperStove – fusion tapas concept with colourful funky theme! Promo valid till 15 May 2018, swipe to see the selection of tapas such as: . • Deep-Fried Calamari ($12) • Chilled Slow-Roasted Pork Belly ($12) • Fried Mozzarella Cheese ($7) • Beef Skewers ($11.50) • Grilled Squid ($12) • Cured Sea Bass Ceviche ($11.50) Expect 6 mains on their concise menu such as their Seafood, Chorizo & Chicken Paella ($28/$45), French Yellow Chicken ($32) & T-Bone Steak ($48). . *Feel free to DM me for full menu as there’re a couple of pages & my multiple post only allows 10 photos. . Prices are honestly on the higher end of the spectrum considering it’s going for a funky neighbourhood dining concept. No comments if it’s a fine dining idea, but considering the prices of mains average around $30-$48++, I could comfortably go for a hearty international buffet or simple fine dining with spectacular views elsewhere. That said, my foodie clique went ahead anyway because we believed that they’d at least be worth a try for a start. I thought that the food wasn’t disappointing but there wasn’t any particular dish that screamed (we ordered 2 mains & 6 tapas), and service needed fine-tuning (no refill of water at all) if they don’t want unforgiving customers to ask for waiver of service charge (I ended up not asking because okay at least the water are not charged unlike some other places. & I appreciate the wifi). . All in all, food was decent, but portions were pretty small, thus from a value perspective I’m not sure it warrants a second visit (personally for me). So the opening promo’s definitely a great opportunity for early adopters to visit now, gather your gang 👍🏻 . 📍Scissors Paper Stove 9 Teck Chye Terrace, S545720 Daily: 12pm – 12am (last order at 11:15pm) . 📷: @Google @Pixel2XL #BlanchexTeamPixel

A post shared by Blanche Z | Singapore 🇸🇬 (@blancheeze) on

This post said the portions were “pretty small for price paid”:

Both food Instagrammers visited the restaurant on their own dime, reviewed the place, and tagged the restaurant.

But we noticed that these two photos never showed up on the restaurant’s own Instagram page.

When we visited their Instagram profile, we saw that their tagged photos section was filled with only positive and neutral reviews:

According to another food Instagrammer, this is the work of a PR agency that is representing the restaurant:

Conflict of interest?

Speaking of PR agency, a reader tipped us off that four out of the nine reviews left on Scissorspaperstove’s Facebook page were by people linked to the PR agency representing it — one called The PR Salon.

We reached out to The PR Salon and confirmed that they are representing the restaurant — at the request of the agency’s Managing Director, we have censored the names and photos of their junior staff in their reviews below:

A review left by a PR executive from The PR Salon. At the request of the agency, we have censored the names and display photos of their junior staff.
A review left by a PR Manager from The PR Salon. At the request of the agency, we have censored the names and display photos of their junior staff.
Review by a PR Manager from The PR Salon.
Review by The PR Salon’s managing director.

Curiously, all four reviews were posted at the same time as well, at about the same time Scissorspaperstove shared a glowing review of its food by Coconuts Singapore.

Perhaps the PR agency folks went for a meal together on the same day at Scissorspaperstove; all of them found the food amazing, and by chance, four of them decided to put up great reviews of the food at the same time.

But one can’t quite ignore the glaring conflict involved in posting positive reviews for a business you’re being paid to promote without declaring the commercial affiliation the companies have.

Shaming no-shows on social media

The folks at The PR Salon regrettably failed to stop this rather shameful PR mistake, however.

We also learned that the owner of Scissorspaperstove, Chomel Yang, allegedly publicly shamed four no-shows on her public Insta stories by revealing their first names, as well as the last four digits of their mobile numbers.

We were told that Yang was upset that the four bookings were among a host of others made for the Mother’s Day weekend —which would have made her restaurant full — but they failed to turn up at their appointed times. “Shame on you people,” she wrote, before proceeding to put up their information online.

“Shame on you people!”
Bet Michelle, Ethan, Bel, and Jason won’t be pleased when they find out.

More rants from other eatery she owns too

Yang appears to run another eatery called Fratini La Trattoria, the customers of which do seem to give her grief from time to time as well.

Amazingly, her Instagram profile had a dedicated Insta story highlight category called “FRATINI RANTS” as well, and we saw at least one complaint she posted about a no-show from a customer who made a reservation there.

Among her rants also included two stories where she discussed the impact of no-shows on a restaurant’s business:

Following our enquiries with The PR Salon, Yang had by Wednesday privatised her Instagram account, although we had seen her stories still publicly available for viewing as recently as on Tuesday afternoon.

PR Salon: Hiding unfavourable reviews was “mistake” by “junior staff”

When Mothership contacted The PR Salon, its Managing Director Frederic Sai claimed that the negative reviews that were hidden on Scissorspaperstove’s Instagram account were mistakenly removed by a “junior staff”:

“The incident happened during first week which is the dry-run period of the restaurant. In fact, the team has been paying attention to the feedback and reviews to make adjustments. The restaurant has removed GST and service charges, also reduced the prices of many of the items, conducted more training to the crews and even reprinted the menu. In fact the customers who posted reviews are influencers with whom our agency has previously worked with a few times before.

It’s just these things have happened really quickly. We were already planning to invite the customers who were disappointed for a complimentary meal to experience the adjustments. Nevertheless, we do admit that we should not have removed the restaurant tagging on the Instagram’s post. As we were really busy lately with many projects, one of our junior staff has removed it as she felt the comments were not relevant with the amendment the restaurant was going through. It was our agency’s fault in overlooking our staff action.”

Sai added that he would like to apologise to the Instagrammers whose tagged reviews had been hidden on the restaurant’s account page.

“It’s not that we were trying to hide. It’s just we were trying to understand what is happening and working on solutions.”

Interestingly, despite Sai’s apology, the hidden posts have yet to resurface on the restaurant’s page.

On the glowing reviews left by the agency’s employees, Sai said that they were “entirely based on [their] personal comments as [paying customers]” at different times:

“It is not our agency policy to just give good reviews on all our clients we are promoting. In fact out of 50 plus clients we had serviced and are servicing, we do not even give reviews for them unless if it’s something we personally like and went down to dine and paid for it.

Not everyone of us get involved in every projects and when one of our colleagues told us that there is a nice restaurant, we do go down and dine personally and may review our experiences.”

That being said, however, it looks like The PR Salon does feel uneasy about potential conflicts of interest. When we went back to Scissorspaperstove’s Facebook page on Wednesday, May 16 in the morning, two of the four PR Salon employee reviews had disappeared:

Two of the reviews by agency employees were removed by the morning of May 16.

Sai said Yang’s account is a personal one intended to share her life with her friends and family, adding that she is a “very inspiring and sweet” businesswoman who “may have overlooked the fact that she will need to set her account on private”.

And as we mentioned earlier, it now is.

Sai said that based on his knowledge, this incident is “mostly misunderstanding and coincidentally bad timing”, it was really unfortunate that all this happened despite the “good intention” of the restaurant and his PR agency.

“Scissors Paper Stove is slated for a fun tapas dining experiences where customers can share the joy and love for food and good things in life. That’s why the tapas menu is even crafted in a way to promote sharing. It is really unfortunate that such incidents all happened together against the good intention.”

Yang: “Never my intention to ‘attract attention of any sort nor harm anyone'”

In a statement by Yang herself, she said that she was overwhelmed by the food wastage and wasted effort by the team when the restaurant needs to deal with cancellations. However, she admitted that her actions had repercussions and she is apologetic:

“Firstly, I would like to express my sincerest apologies in regards to my Instagram stories. Ever since day one, my core belief has always been to bring good food and big smiles to people.

At times, it gets very upsetting for me when there are no-shows for reservations despite multiple calls, which puts me in a dilemma whether to serve other sincere diners trying to get the same reservation or not. As the menu is often prepared based on dietary restrictions, we have to deal with much food wastage.

As a passionate chef, I take food wastage seriously not solely due to the cost involved from the type of ingredients used, but also because of the amount of effort the team spent on food preparation, which could have been appreciated by other diners. With this, we would really appreciate it if customers could keep us updated if they are unable to honour the reservation.

As a chef and business owner, the build-up of these things can be daunting and overwhelming overtime. Instagram has always been my personal space to share highs and lows of my life with my friends and family. It was never my intention to neither attract attention of any sort nor harm anyone. I genuinely wanted to express my distress so that I could move on and focus on with what I’m truly passionate about.

Once again, I would like to apologise to anyone affected by my Instagram stories. This incident has reflected the need for me to be conscious of my actions that may potentially lead to unintended repercussions. I will continue to focus on my core belief of bringing good food and big smiles to people. “

 

Top images via Instagram. Some information and photos were sent to us by a reader. 

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