An employee at a Checkers restaurant in North Philadelphia allegedly gave a customer something extra in his buns yesterday morning - a bullet.

The shooting, which occurred at about 4 a.m., followed an altercation about service between an employee and a 19-year-old customer at the eatery on Broad Street near Girard Avenue, Police Lt. Frank Vanore said.

Police could not confirm broadcast reports that the customer allegedly slapped a female server and that her boyfriend, who witnessed the assault, shot the customer in retaliation.

What police did say is that the alleged shooter was an employee of the restaurant and that he chased the customer outside, shot him in the buttocks and then fled, not returning to finish his shift.

As of last evening, the suspected shooter, whom police declined to identify, remained on the lam, according to detectives.

The victim, who was initially taken to Hahnemann University Hospital in critical condition, was upgraded to stable by late yesterday afternoon, Vanore said.

A restaurant manager declined to comment on the incident. *