FOR some Australians, sauce is considered an inalienable human right in the same category as oxygen and access to clean water.
The thought of tucking into a sausage roll without lashings of tomato sauce, or a fresh snag from Bunnings without a dollop of barbecue sauce would send shivers down many of our spines.
So it was hardly a surprise that when Cafe 101, an establishment in Sydney’s trendy inner-west, decided to charge customers $6 for sauce there was a backlash.
The outrage was so severe that the cafe’s owner told news.com.au that he has been forced to change the menu — adding that the decision to charge such a hefty fee for the sauce was a “big mistake”.
It all stems from an optional extra on the cafe’s menu to add either, pepper, garlic, mushroom or gravy to their “premium 60-day grain-fed” scotch fillet 260g steak ($23.90) or gilled chicken breast fillet ($21.90).
Both items come with fries, but for the privilege of adding sauce, which the cafe’s manager Eli Farrah says is freshly made, customers are asked to fork out $6.
“It’s absolutely outrageous and un-Australian to charge that much for sauce,” said Connor Watson, who was shopping at the nearby Bing Lee for a new television when he stumbled across Cafe 101.
“To be fair, I don’t think $23 is bad for a steak and chips — especially in the inner-west where everything is expensive. But, they know that you’re going to want some sauce with it so it’s just a rip.
“I mean, it’s got to the point where you just expect prices to be high for almost anything in Sydney but $6 for a bit of sauce on your meat is a step too far.”
Strong criticism for the charge also came from dozens of condiment fans online after a disgruntled customer uploaded a picture onto social media.
Mr Farrah said the sauce is all freshly made and comes in a big bowl so that customers can share and dip their chips.
However, he admitted that the cafe had made a mistake by charging so much and not making this clear.
“We are very sorry and we realised we have made a mistake,” he told news.com.au. “The thing that customers probably didn’t realise is that this sauce is fresh and we understand that we didn’t make this clear.”
The criticism has forced the cafe to take to controversial item off its new menu, which will be unveiled in about two weeks time.
“So now we are charging $3 for it (the fresh sauce) and we are taking it off the menu in two weeks time,” he said. “We’ll be adding different sauces to the menu, but customers can still order the fresh sauce if they want it.
“We are always listening to feedback and learning from our customers every day. Sometimes you make mistakes.”