A woman who says Kanpai Japanese Steak and Seafood House refused her service has started a petition to boycott the establishment. But restaurant owners say they refuse to serve her simply because she is such a poor tipper.
Monica Covington said her spat with the restaurant began in 2008.
“I noticed on our ticket that they added 18 percent gratuity and there was only two others with me at the time,” Covington said.
The restaurant menu clearly states that a 15 percent gratuity will be added to parties of six or more. Covington said she complained, but paid anyway.
When she returned to the restaurant a month later, Covington said she was informed that she would have to pay an 18 percent gratuity if she wanted to dine there.
“Before we could even get seated, we got into the door and they came to me and said, ‘If you aren’t willing to pay the 18 percent gratuity, then we can’t serve you,’” she said.
Covington said she felt slighted and decided to start a petition demanding fair business practices. So far, 300 people have signed.
Kanpai manager Michael Lam said Covington is a poor tipper, and after a number instances of her failing to tip accordingly, the restaurant ran into problems.
“Yes, because we can’t keep continuing to serve her anymore because the servers and chefs are not willing to serve her,” Lam said when asked if he refused Covington service.
Lam said he’s shocked by news of the petition, which reflects poorly on his business that has been in Winston-Salem for 13 years.
Winston-Salem attorney Carl Parrish said North Carolina law allows businesses to dictate payment terms upfront and to refuse to serve customers who don’t agree to the terms, as long as civil liberties aren’t in violation.
But Covington insists the business is discriminating against her.
“This petition is to make sure everyone who goes out there gets fair treatment,” she said.