White Restaurant in Tampines charges S$3 extra ahead of CNY, eatery says it applies at 2 of 8 outlets

The surcharge applies to two outlets which don't charge service charge. It will be for 14 days, from Feb. 6 to Feb. 19.

Nigel Chua | February 07, 2024, 10:28 AM



It's the practice of some food and beverage (F&B) outlets to impose additional charges during the Chinese New Year (CNY) period, with some charging up to 10 per cent more, or in some cases, up to S$1 per dish.

Many F&B outlets that charge extra during CNY cite increased manpower costs, as well as higher costs of transportation and ingredients.

Some pointed to the need to incentivise employees to work during the festive season, when outlets usually face manpower constraints.

White Restaurant, which has several outlets around Singapore, is levying a 10 per cent surcharge too — at two of its eight outlets.

The eatery told Mothership on Feb. 6 that it was only imposing the CNY surcharge on customers at outlets where it does not charge the usual 10 per cent service charge.

One of these outlets is at Tampines Mall, where one customer was shocked to see an additional S$3 on their receipt.

The customer took to Facebook, calling the practice "crazy profiteering", given that the surcharge was being imposed days ahead of the CNY public holiday.

Photo via Familia Cils on Facebook.

The customer had ordered three items adding up to S$25.90, and was charged an additional S$3.00 for an item listed as "Festival Surcharge 10%" and S$2.00 for "GST 9%", totalling S$30.90.

However, as commenters pointed out, the math didn't seem to work out.

10 per cent of S$25.90 is in fact S$2.59, and 9 per cent is S$2.33. Screenshot via Facebook.

White Restaurant responded to further queries on Feb. 7, saying the miscalculation was due to a "system error" at the beginning of Feb. 6, the first day of the surcharge being imposed.

"Immediate action was taken to investigate and rectify the situation," said White Restaurant.

In this case, however, the error resulted in the customer being charged less.

A 10 per cent surcharge on the S$25.90 order and a further 9 per cent charge for GST would have brought the total to S$31.05.

"We regret any inconvenience this may have caused and have taken steps to prevent such occurrences in the future," said White Restaurant.

Surcharge applies to two outlets, for two weeks

White Restaurant told Mothership on Feb. 6 that the CNY surcharge would only be levied at two of its outlets, where service charge is not normally imposed.

"This adjustment is to help buffer the heightened costs during the festive season," said White Restaurant, citing an expected increase in part-time labour costs by 50 per cent, and in raw material costs by 15 per cent.

"It had been a tough decision for us as most of our guests are regular customers and we have decided against imposing permanent service charge," said White Restaurant.

The surcharge will apply for two weeks — from Feb. 6 to Feb. 19.

Mothership has reached out to White Restaurant on how the festive surcharge and GST are calculated.

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Top photo via Familia Cils on Facebook and White Restaurant's website