Saturday, August 6, 2016

Grand Café Raouché, enough with the witch-hunt already!

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Everyone seems to be enjoying the public shaming of Grand Café Raouché because of a check that looks shockingly high. But when you look closely, you notice that this new Lebanese witch-hunt is, at best, ludicrous.

I received the picture of this check a couple of days before most people got hold of it and started sharing it on social media, but I refused to publish it for several reasons:

We don’t know how many people were there

If you look at the enormous amount of desserts consumed and the number of large bottles of mineral water (over 33 desserts and 9 bottles of water), you can easily guess that they were around 20 people there, if not more. If we say they were 20 people, then the total is not that high: 415 dollars divided by 20 equals a little more than 20 dollars per head.

Coincidently, 20 dollars is the amount listed as average price on the website

Didn’t they read the prices on the menu?

If we assume that they were less than 20 people there – let’s say 10 for the sake of the argument – didn’t they check the prices on the menu before indulging in such an orgy of desserts?

The first thing you get when you sit in any restaurant is the menu. Therefore these people knew exactly what they were ordering and how much every item costs. So why did they order so many desserts only to be angry about a check they perfectly knew how big it would be?

The 12.000 LL apple mystery

My first reaction when I received the photo of this check was to jump as soon as I saw the price of the item “APPLE”. An apple at 12.000 LL (8 dollars) is pure theft! But, when you think about it, you realize 3 things:

1- No restaurant or café in Lebanon ever serves one fruit, but always a platter of fruits.

2- When you order any fruit in a restaurant, it’s not logged in the billing system by the name of each fruit (apple, orange, banana, etc.) which would be too complicated, but usually by the generic word FRUIT.

3- Most restaurants don’t put the full name of every item, therefore this APPLE could have been an apple-pie or an apple shisha. The people that published the controversial check didn’t say if they ordered one apple, a platter of apples, an apple-pie or an apple shisha.

So before naming and shaming, the least one can do is think a little (that’s what the grey thing between our ears is for) and check the facts. Naming and shaming without thinking then checking the facts is irresponsible and malevolent.

Grand Café owner says they were 30 people there

On MTV Lebanon, the owner of the Grand Café said they were 30 people there and each paid  20.000 LL (13 dollars) each. The social media witch-hunt has led the Ministry of economy to get involved and check if the place was overpriced or not (which is ironic, knowing that almost everything in Lebanon is overpriced!)

Why only share the check of the Grand Café?

I’ve never been to the Grand Café Raouché, and I will probably never eat there. And I’m not interested in investigating why this check amounts to 415 dollars. I believe there are much more pressing problems in Lebanon to waste time on such a frivolous issue. But, as a matter of principle, I would never denounce a place (or a person) before knowing all the facts – facts none of the people that shared this check bothered to check (pun intended).

To anyone that shared the Grand Café check on social media: if you’re truly bothered by the prices of things, why don’t you share with us the checks of the trendy places you go to (and proudly take selfies in), where prices are so high, it hurts to even look at them?

Why don’t you tell us how much you pay a meal or a drink in your favorite hangouts? Why just the Grand Café check (coming from some unknown source), why not checks from places you actually go to? Knowing that everything in Lebanon is so damn expensive, most people can barely afford to feed their families, let alone go out to cafés overlooking Beirut seafront and indulge in an orgy of desserts.

Food for thoughts (pun also intended).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why the hype behind this story?

We don't know if the photo of the bill circulated by one of the people present there was indeed to complain about the price. For some, they show off about it on SM.

We don't know how many they were.

Menus were given to these people, therefore they know what to except. If they didn't, it's their fault.

The law protects the consumer if the bill doesn't match the menus or if any over irregularity happened when paying. For the rest, it's the guest's problem.