Durban - The Spur in The Ridge Mall in Shallcross was damaged in a fire on Thursday after staff rushed out following a bomb scare, leaving the grill on, which then caught fire.
The restaurant’s manager, Nawaab Abbas, said his staff panicked when security guards came in to evacuate them.
“They didn’t notice that the grill was left on; it was not their fault,” he said.
The mall was evacuated after an alert, now believed to be bogus, that there was a bomb in Checkers.
Customers dropped their groceries and ran, while families enjoying meals abandoned their food and ran outside.
Abbas said some of their customers left without paying. Everyone waited outside the mall for an hour before being given the all-clear.
Checkers manager Clive Dudhraj declined to say who had claimed there was a bomb in the shop.
Abbas said he went back in to receive a stock delivery and noticed flames in the kitchen.
Neighbouring shop owners helped douse the flames.
Abbas said they had used 14 fire extinguishers before firefighters arrived.
“I had to borrow from other stores while we were waiting,” he said on Thursday.
The eatery’s seating area was not burnt but had water on the floor from the in-store sprinklers.
The restaurant is expected to reopen by the end of the weekend.
The mall’s manager, Elvis Frank, said: “We will have experts in today to inspect and ensure everything is safe at the Spur before it reopens and also to assess the damage.”