In the Philippines, we don’t usually bribe doormen or bouncers to get into clubs or restaurants. It is unusual for the Pinoy diner to bribe his way into a restaurant. Most of the time, restaurants are glad to have customers, great and small, as long as they are paying customers. I have personally experienced being refused entry in a restaurant on account of the clothes I am wearing. However, I think it is unfortunate for such restaurants especially those that are inside a mall or complex which is not so accessible to begin with.
For those who have experienced such treatment, remember this. It is very much within their right to refuse entry or service to anyone they deem to be problematic to them or to the other diners. Here are the most common reasons for refusing entry to a customer:
Recently I was refused entry in Pepper Steak at the Newport Cinema in Resorts World. I was wearing shorts, slippers and a UP t-shirt. My companions were wearing shorts, flip flops and t-shirts just the same. Now why were we dressed that way? We’re neighbors in a condo near Ayala and we all decided to hop in my friend’s new car to drive around and then we decided to watch Expendables 2 at 11.00 pm on a weekend. Because of that impromptu movie date with friends, we were in our pambahay (house clothes). Apparently, Pepper Steak thought we could not pay our way thus refused entry. However, the lady said “takeout po pwede pero hindi nyo po pwede kainin dito.” (You can buy takeout but you can’t eat it inside the restaurant.) Fortunately for them, we decided not to spoil our evening by making a scene so we moved to the next restaurant, Stackers which had Wi-Fi and awesome Baked Chicken.
To Pepper Steak, Newport Cinema here’s my take on the matter. Yes I recognize your right to refuse entry. I know that there is no law saying that what you did was illegal. I get it that it is your right to protect your establishment from “hooligans” or those who look like they live under the EDSA flyovers. However, closer scrutiny should have lent you insight on the kind of people you were refusing service. Your restaurant was to close in more than an hour but you just shooed us away without even listening to our pakiusap, which was nice and cordial. First off, Pepper Steak is NOT fine dining, you are casual dining. You had NO SIGN outside stating that we needed to be in certain clothes to enter. Thirdly, you had diners who were also in shorts and flip-flops. I dine with you every time I watch a movie at the Newport Cinema, now I regret having given you my business. I won’t lose sleep over that incident, but I regret having commended you in my previous posts as I have even championed you against your competitor. You cannot blame me for the disappointment as you used to be my favorite restaurant. Your branch in Eastwood sees me at least once a week.
I have learned from the experience and will be more discerning next time. As I told my companions, there is no point in making a scene as Pepper Steak is well within their rights to refuse people as they see fit. However, I am also well within my rights to write this post and never to dine there again.