Four people on Wednesday decided to discuss business in a coffee shop on Ratchadaphisek Road, Bangkok. After ordering six drinks and spending two hours at the table they were presented with a bill for 2,260 baht.
One of the customers, Atipoj Srisukhon, took a photo of the bill and posted it on his Facebook page, triggering a social media uproar.
Atipoj wrote that the bill was for six drinks costing 260 baht, plus a 2,000 baht "Open Food" charge.
The Bon Cafe staff explained to the four that the coffee shop discouraged customers from using the premises for direct sales and product testing, for business meetings and for working generally.
The Facebook user admitted there was a "small" sign on each table asking that customers cooperate and not conduct business activities there. If they did not cooperate, the coffee shop would charge them 1,000 baht per hour. However, the sign was very small and he and his companions did not see it.
The four refused to pay the additional 2,000 baht. The staff did not argue and subsequently handed them a new bill that excluded the "Open Food" charge.
The "Open Food" post was later removed from Atipoj's Facebook page after Bon Cafe (Thailand) isued a statement saying it was all a misunderstanding.
The coffee shop was only asking for cooperation from its customers, and none of their customers had actually paid the "Open Food" charge.
The company statement said the coffee shop is in a busy area, surrounded by many offices, and it has to provide fast customer service to meet the demand.
Most netizens criticised the coffee shop for overcharging, but others argued that people should not selfishly occupy tables for hours on end in a coffee shop. They could also disturb other customers.