south indian dosa mahal

Toronto restaurant bombarded with one-star reviews owner claims are from angry students

An Indian restaurant in Toronto was recently slammed with negative reviews from a group of diners alleging "intolerable" behaviour, however, the owner claims the back-and-forth resulted from a misunderstanding with the restaurant's service charge. 

South Indian Dosa Mahal, located at 9 Roncesvalles Avenue, is well-known for its affordable vegetarian plates, gluten-free soups, and as its name suggests, a wide range of dosa. 

This week, the restaurant's owner took to a local community Facebook group to discuss an incident involving a group of student diners and their dissatisfaction with the service charge. 

"We got a few horrible reviews from a group of 20 college students on a vengeful mission," the post reads. "They harassed my server, then threatened him just because they didn't agree with the service charge that we place on large groups and made it a point that he didn't deserve a tip either and he should go back to his country if he doesn't appreciate them."

To avoid making the situation more hostile, the owner says the restaurant decided to take the service charge off and proceeded with the bills. 

"Of course, they weren't happy with the result, because they wanted more of a discount. So they ended up spamming us," the post continues. "They came up with false accusations that he forced them to review us, claiming we took over an hour to serve, (we have cameras to prove they were only there for an hour from start to finish), and that we seated them separately." 

Two negative Google reviews were left for the restaurant this week, which claim that the group of 17 customers were asked to pay the 18 per cent gratuity charge. 

south indian dosa mahalThe reviews also allege that the restaurant took an hour and a half to serve the group their meals. 

"FYI: we share all tips and service charges in a tip pool reserved for all members working, not just the servers, because they all work hard to keep up with the restaurant's demands," the owner's post continues. "Now I'm just rethinking it altogether because I don't want anyone harassing my staff going forth."

In order to offset some of the negative reviews the restaurant received as a result of the situation, the owner requested that customers who love their food and service to kindly leave positive reviews. 

"So my request: for those of you who have dined with us, and if you love our food and service, are you able to leave us a positive review on Google?" the post continues.

"I would really appreciate it to offset these reviews. P.S. I'm not trying to make anyone uncomfortable, force anyone to do anything. I'm only asking those who have tried our restaurant." 

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez 

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