Details.com editor James Oliver Cury tackles controversial food-and-drink-themed etiquette issues.
Which industry has the most egregious surcharges? Airlines have added some surprisingly sneaky fees over the years and were recently in the news again for considering charging extra for overweight people. One airline, Ryanair, seems to take pride in its fees and even contemplated adding a cost to use the bathroom. Not that hotels have been kind; $8 water bottles and $40 parking spots are as common as charging for Wi-Fi. But restaurants and bars, in my estimation, have developed the most crafty ways to squeeze profit out of that which was once - and should still be - gratis.
I made a list of every “extra” charge I’ve ever heard of (16 examples came to mind and I’m sure there are more) and separated them into two categories: those that seem warranted (like charging for shaved truffles on an entrée) and those that seem brazenly unnecessary and unfair (like charging extra for ketchup).
Below is my definitive list of potential offenses with reasoned assessments of the fairness quotient of each, based purely on personal opinion.
Extra Charges I Just Don't Get
The first time I ate at Dylan Prime Steakhouse in New York I was floored to see that a meal - which could easily cost more than $100 a person - might also include a $3 extra charge for a sauce or special butter. That’s like charging extra for sprinkling Parmesan on your pizza. Or having salt on the table. The eatery has seen troubled times recently so there’s no telling if the menu will retain the practice.
Yes, some fast food joints charge extra for a packet of ketchup. I came face to face with this practice at a McDonald’s in London back in 1988. The cost: 5p (pence) - about a nickel - per packet. The idea has since crossed the pond, where U.S. franchise owners decide how they’ll dole out condiments (in packets, via spigots with paper containers, for a fee or not.). The current cost stateside seems to be 25 cents for a handful of packets. And though it might cut down on waste, it seems random; why aren’t there similar surcharges for mustard and mayo?
Splitting a dish/extra side dish
If an entrée costs $15 and you use your fork to give your spouse several bites, no one charges you extra. Ask if you can officially split the dish and you may get hit with a surcharge of between $2 and $5 or more, a penalty that feels like it’s designed to discourage sharing (which is weird because don’t we go to restaurants to share a meal with others?) That said, if the request requires time and effort from a server to literally divide the dish and garnishes, then a separate fee seems warranted. If just a side plate is requested, it ought to be free (please don’t suggest that the effort of washing the extra plate necessitates the fee).
Splitting the check
I was a waiter once. I know it takes more time to process two, three, even four credit cards. But there’s no good reason to charge extra - or forbid - the practice. Credit-card processing fees should not be the customers’ concern.
Cocktail neat/on the rocks
Some bars tack on an extra buck or two claiming that the pour is different: You get 2 ounces in a neat rocks glass and 1.5 ounces if you order on the rocks. Or vice versa, depending on the place (see this description of a recent bourbon order). Can’t the bartender find some glasses that render these pouring differences less marked or just suck up the difference…or figure it all evens out eventually anyway? Or just charge more in general for the cocktail? Why complicate things?
Food waste/not finishing what's on the plate
Buffets are magnets for gluttons because you can pile on as much food as the plate will hold - and sometimes come back for seconds. But there’s a cost: Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and tons of food typically remains on the plate at the end of the meal. To combat this effect, some restaurants have suggested applying a fee, as reported about the $32 waste fee posted by the management at The Kylin Buffet Chinese restaurant in England. A noble idea, perhaps, but restaurants are not government institutions (“Take all you want but eat all you take” as they say in the army), and honestly, there are a million reasons why someone wouldn’t finish every morsel. Someone wants to monetize this? See also Hachikyo, a seafood restaurant in Japan that requires customers who do not finish their bowl of tsukko meshi (rice topped with salmon roe) to make a donation.
Non-bottled (sometimes filtered) tap water
Millennium restaurant in San Francisco had its heart in the right place: They were dedicated to organic food production, small farms, sustainable agriculture, recycling and composting. In fact, they were so environmentally-friendly that they took the extreme measure of banning bottled water altogether, offering instead a delicious glass from their Natural Tap Water Filtration System. Unfortunately, they also stopped offering tap water. So, water cost $1 for what’s basically filtered tap water. Bobo, in New York, was also taken to task for what is effectively water gouging with a conscience. Even a few McDonald’s (them again?) got in on the action. I say: Allow the public to have a free glass of water, if only so boozers can work in a little hydration without penalty.
In New York there’s an 8% tax on “altered” bagels: Sliced, toasted or served with schmear. Why the distinction? The cutting and spreading, though a minimal culinary effort to be sure, technically makes it a prepared meal. Sold unaltered, it is a tax-exempt food item. Seems like there’s a hole in this law to me.
Extra Charges I Understand
You want freshly shaved black truffles on your butter-poached lobster? That’ll be an additional $12 at Michael’s on the Hill in Vermont (fair price it seems to me). Caviar on the side? Of course you gotta pay extra for that. Nothing fishy there. These are gourmet ingredients, so unless the menu hides the fact that there’s a surcharge, these are warranted. (Years ago, I once ordered a “special” soup at a Chinese restaurant - I don’t recall if it was turtle or sharkfin, neither of which I’d order today - and the server neglected to mention that it cost $40. I’ve been wary of unfamiliar delicacies ever since.)
Bread and butter/chips and salsa
Historically, Americans in the latter part of the 20th century are accustomed to seeing certain side dishes served for free before a meal. Most consumers simply won’t go back to an establishment if they’re charged for something they used to get (or can get elsewhere) for free. But really, why are these dishes free? The ingredients cost money - and they fill you up, so you may order less. And yet it caused quite a stir when the Post reported that Chelsea restaurant Company charged “$3 for bread and another $2 for butter” a few years back. To be contrarian, The New York Times’ Frank Bruni argued for the extra fees. Personally, I wouldn’t choose to go back to a place that charged me for bread, but that doesn’t mean I can’t see the argument for this policy.
You made a reservation, the restaurant is holding your table, and you never show up and don’t even call? Seems fair to charge a penalty so selfish barbarians don’t abuse the privilege, especially in cities like New York where aggressive diners have been known to make reservations at three venues for the same time and day - to hold the spots - and only show up at one at the last minute. (It’s easy for restaurateurs to charge your credit card if you book through online reservation sites). The Wall Street Journal chronicled the practice a year ago; rates range from $50 (OpenTable’s fee) to $225 (the full price of the prix fixe at Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare).
I have no idea if the fries really cost more or less than a salad at any given restaurant, but if a dish normally comes with one side dish and you’d like a different one, you should be notified about the price difference and understand that some of the fee goes to the extra effort of making the chef (or server) plate something in an unfamiliar way. Not all menus are designed to mix and match - much to the chagrin of vegetarians, allergy sufferers, the lactose-intolerant and gluten avoiders.
Eating at prime time
Famed New York dining institution Le Cirque once toyed with the idea of “formalizing a prime-time price increase,” according to CBS. The idea is simple: Everyone wants to eat between 6 and 8 p.m. - not at 5:30 or 10:30 p.m. Charging more for access during the dinner rush is not unlike nightclubs that charge more after midnight when the dance floor is packed and they don’t need bodies to fill the space anymore. Frankly, I’m surprised no one charges for premium seating (bigger tables, far from the bathrooms, etc.) in New York restaurants...yet.
Tips for large groups
You just had a steak dinner with six buddies. The bill comes and there’s an extra 20% at the bottom. Does that count as an extra fee? No. Is it fair? Yes - as long as the gratuity does not exceed 20%. Admittedly there are two potential downsides to this practice: First, if the service sucks, you’re forced to pay this healthy tip anyway. Second, and far worse, some bills hide this automatically added fee, which leads the occasional diner to pay an unintended second tip on top.
If you’re bringing your own wine to a restaurant and thus not paying for a bottle from their list (would you ever dare to bring your own food?), then it makes sense that management would charge an extra charge fee (to discourage the practice and to make up some of the lost revenue). It’s the amount that can be galling. $20? Fine. $75 to $100? Too rich for my blood. But if you’re dining at places like Per Se or French Laundry, what do you expect? Call first and ask about the policy to be sure.
Access to the room with live music
If a band is playing, of course, it’s ok to charge extra for those customers who want to be closer to the music. Helsinki Hudson, for example, requires separate reservations depending on whether you’re eating at the restaurant or inside the club - even though both are under the same roof. Sometimes, though, I wish venues would pay me to continue to endure listening.
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Charging a credit card fee surcharge if the customer uses a credit card is a violation of the VISA/MASTERCARD/AMEX card processing agreement with the retailer, and can result in the retailer's ability to process cards, being shut down by VISA/AMEX/MASTERCARD!
It is not anymore, the credit protection act that just passed took that out from what I understand of it. It's also caused gas stations to do the split pricing for cash & credit that was popular in the 70's. I suspect we will see more and more stores charging a fee to use a credit card now...all because the government tried to "help" the little guy.
It's really just semantics, but credit cards cannot charge a fee for using a credit card. They can however offer a discount for using cash. This amounts to the same thing, but is a loophole that was built into the law.
The problem with giving a cash discount at a restaurant or bar is that you will almost automatically become a target for the IRS.
Oh, great!!! We use our credit cards all the time as we earn gas discounts & pay off every month! Huh, no such thing as a free lunch I guess! :/
CiCi's pizza in Greensboro, NC charges you more to use a credit card.
Visa and Mastercard settled a lawsuit brought by merchants over collusion in regards to interchange fees. Part of that settlement allows merchants to add surcharges to credit card users. Basically they can now pass on the interchange fees to the consumer. On a side no they have always been allowed to give a discount for those paying with cash.
There used to be a NYC eatery that charged (and taxed) customers who used credit cards.
Vendors supposedly cannot enforce minimum purchase amounts, but it's common in NYC.
A few years back we didn't know about that policy. We had a sign posted, "$0.25 charge for credit card transactions under $5." A customer that worked at a near by bank came in to buy a $1 item, and was about to pay with her credit card when she saw the sign. She said, "You know you can't charge a customer for using their credit card. Visa can cancel your account." That was the first time I heard of it. I didn't charge her and I took the sign down, then the next day I increased the price of all items under $5 by $0.25 cents. Somebody has to pay for it. Most customers don't care about a little increase in price, as long as the food and service is good.
So you made ALL your customers pay for it?! Where was that store? I'd like to avoid shopping there.
I like Buffets.. You can choose what you want.. Eat as little or as much as you want..
If you watch, rarely do people take advantage.. I rarely see a glutton eat until they might explode..
Many don't seem to even eat what they have paid for..
Its mostly about just getting out and enjoying yourself..
So I avoid the places that want you to eat and then get the H.. out.. And if you notice the places that charge for everything are like that..
So why go to them?
The bagel slicing thing in NY sounds ridiculous but it actually makes sense. In NY there is no sales tax on unprepared food. This is to help the poor buy groceries. But there is regular sales tax on prepared foods. So bagels at a bagel shop typically have regular sales tax, but if they sell them un-sliced, the shop can claim it is an unprepared food item and skip charging the sales tax.
One of the worst places in terms of handling checks/paying is The Red Bar is Destin, FL. The place won't split a check, not even a two-way split, and they won't take credit cards. And this is a place where most entrees are $25 or more. Oh, but they have an ATM in there–one of those unbranded ones that charges ridiculous fees. Oh, and you can't make reservations. You show up, stand outside for over an hour, and get treated like cattle.
The only reason we went to this place was because a friend really wanted to go. The food was good, but their policies will discourage me from ever going back.
my father used to tell the story of being invited to a political dinner (a presidential candidate) at the waldof astoria in new york. this was in the 40's. the cost was $100 plus .75 if you wanted blue cheese dressing. comparing that to today, that would be $5000 for the dinner and and extra $5 for the bleu cheese.
1) I never understood people who put butter on their steak..must be an american thing
2) A fee for people splitting a meal I am ok with because most likely they will cheap out on the tip from the smaller bill.
3) Certain substitutions I am also ok with because the ingredient you are subbing in might cost more.
4) My college used to charge us an extra $0.50 for peanut butte or jam with we'd buy a bagel, who awesome is gouging students?
5) When I was in Europe I was getting random charges all over the place, I had a restaurant in Italy charge me extra for bread...for bread! a staple with every meal in Italian cuisine.
6) No one likes lists
@mattk, with regards to your #2, regardless of how many ways a check is split, 15% adds up to 15% regardless of how many checks there are. In fact, the last time I ate out in a large group with split checks, we all left larger tips than necessary simply to avoid needing to ask for change.
He was talking about two people sharing the same meal. So the server will get a smaller tip because there is only one entree on the bill, not two. So, 20% of one meal will be less than 20% of two meals.
@mattk In regards to your last comment about Italians charging you for bread, I experienced a similar matter while visiting Florence. I frequent Italy almost every summer to visit my family, and in most piazza’s in popular tourist locations, restaurants/bars/trattorias tend to charge more if you were sitting down at one of their tables (either inside or out) than if you were standing up or taking something to-go. It’s a commonly known thing in the major cities that very few tourists know (unless they're staying with locals). Kind of crazy, right?
I think the bread situation really depends on the type of dining location you’re in and what region. I personally don’t eat bread with my dinner (unless I’m having a quick sandwich at a bar), but I’ve been in restaurants in Europe where they do and don’t serve bread with meals. I think it's up to their preference or have some correlation to how "touristy" their location is.
I myself work in hospitality in NYC. I can tell you what lengths people go to get get anything for free. This article is a proof of that. Unfortunately most guests take it out on the servers when it is NOT their faults and leave these hard working Americans with no tip. Managers and Cooks get paid salary or by the hour, servers make their living by tips (The $5 an hour barley covers their taxes). So when a classless guest stiffs the server, it does not send a message to anyone else in the restaurant except that server. It is a shame that NYC dining has become a waiting room for errors. People dine and wait for any little thing to go wrong so they can get out of paying a tip or try to argue a free round of drinks. It is as if restaurants have to pay for some type of 'pain and suffering' the guests experienced during their dinner. And yes, it is easy to notice who the condiment hoarders are since they always start with "I never do this but can I get some more? I am soooo hungry, oh my god I am sooo sorry". They like to fill up on all the complimentary items as much as they can to save a buck, driving everyone in the restaurant to hustle around for free refills and stop managers to complain after they had to wait for their third refill, and how unfair and poor service, and 'never again will I come here' and 'I am going to go onto yelp', etc. I work in a restaurant with a large out door dining area. I have even had people become upset with the restaurant because they saw a roach OUTSIDE!!!! In NYC!!!! I will be writing a book towards the end of my career and fill it with all the excuses people come up with just to get something free or have a reason not to tip. There is nothing wrong with the restaurants, there is something wrong with your level of class if you can not just simply go out and enjoy a meal without complaining about every possible excuse you can find.
Your response was interesting and informative, GetACluePeople. But I have to ask why the "non-professionals" do not get paid a salary. Aren't they covered by the minimum wage laws?
Yes, there are covered by minimum wages laws. They receive wages and tips (which are required by law to equal at least the minimum wage). They do not receive salary. In fact salaried employees are exempt from minimum wage laws, not the wage employees.
I've never worked in a restaurant but I can always see the scammers working on the servers. The first thing they do is try to double up on any of the "complimentary" items like bread, salad, chips/salsa, etc. Basically try to fill up on freebies and take the actual dinner home to eat the next day.
Then they'll make some unusual requests like "extra mushrooms and cheese" or bizarre customizations to their drinks that they are almost certain to claim they are unhappy with (Martini not dry enough yet they manage to swallow half of it). The tricks are obvious, but what's a restaurant to do?
Best policy is to have restaurant state prices and fees clearly on the menu. That way, customer is not surprised in the end. And as for tips, I don't believe in tips as a compensation for the wait staff. It should be restaurant's responsibility to adequately compensate wait staff. Customers should only tip if the wait staff has gone beyond the expected service level.
ANd don't give me baloney about low wages and hard work. No one i holding a gun to you and forcing you to work in restaurants. If you think work is hard and pay is low then quit! Originally, tipping was to reward for outstadning service but little by little it has now become a standard fee. And at one time it was 5%, then 8% then 10% then 12% then 15% then 18% and now it's 20%!!. You go outside of USA and tipping in restaurants, cabd, and hotel is totally optional. And in US, there's a tipping jar at Chipoltle!! For what?? What did Chipolte staff do beside take my order? Why would they even consider having a tipping jar??
Again, dont tell me low wages – it it's low wages, quit the job and get a better paying job!
I agree that the business should be posting all prices and extra fees. And indeed they should also be paying their employees for the hard work they do. A little hard to leave a job in today's economy! And actually TIPS is "To Insure Prompt Service", YMMV
BTW, it's tip meaning gratiuty. TIPS (To Insure Prompt Service) is something wait staff coined. And as I said, if the service is above and beyond expected level, then it is up to the patron to leave a tip in the amount of his discretion.
As for the economy, everyone is hurting.I am a compassionate person and do care about well being of socety. However, at some point, everyone has to realize that your earning capacity will be directly related to skills and anout of effort you're willing exert.
But more importantly, when we go out to eat, the business relationship is between the patron and the business owner. COmpensation of wait staff, cook and otehrs is not patron's business. So, any issues of wages and work difficulties is between the staff and the owner.
Agree with you 100%. One of the things that make me mad is when my wife tips her hair stylist. Why? She works for herself and sets her own prices; and 20% on top! Hell no!
I love a bitter waiter with a keyboard....
HEY! Maybe I can start charging the cheapskates who ask for 30 lemon slices and make their own lemonade with 20 sugar packets and our free tap water to go along with their split sandwich and sit in my table for 3 hours while paying customers get turned away. And then go home and YELP that we suck because we didn't let them bring their car-sized stroller inside, or turn the AC and music off because you "don't like it".
NOTHING irritates me more than idiots who have no idea how expensive or mentally taxing it is to run a restaurant. I get this all of the time "But I can get this at the supermarket for $2 – why am I paying $5". To which I would love to say, "go open the package and eat it in aisle three, then."
Our time and craft is as valuable as any other. A little respect, please. You would not ask a sales rep at KOHLS to take a shirt and change the sleeves from short to long, because you don't wear short sleeves. You would not ask Ben or Jerry to remove the nuts from chunky monkey because you can't eat nuts. You would not call up Peter Jackson to demand a LOTR with a little louder soundtrack, because you are bringing your elderly aunt along who has hearing problems, And you probably (I'm guessing) wouldn't insist on firearms with "child sized" triggers at the gun range for your toddler. Or maybe you would. And also get really pissed when you can't park your hybrid car/stroller/suv on the dining room patio because even if it blocks all access to everything, it fits there and you should be able to.
To these folks I say – eat at home. PLEASE. To the others- I love you, and can't wait to see your smiling happy faces enjoying my food, drinks & vibe.
LOL! Your post made me laugh...because its true!!! I commend those in the service industry. I personally could not do it...my patience with idiots like that is way too short..
loved your response! too many times people who eat in restaurants forget that the staff are there to make a living, aren't there just for the fun of it (although I know some really love their jobs!) and should not be at your "beck and call" for every unreasonable request (do you have unsalted crackers for my soup?).
To be fair, there is nothing wrong with asking the chef to alter an item. Either he will do it or he won't. If he does it, it will be free or there will be a charge. It's not a big deal.
I find it strange that when there's a thread about restaurants, so much is always focused on McDonalds. I don't think of fast food as a "restaurant" – it's more like a vending machine with a person handing you the food.
I found it strange that the author referenced an experience he had at McDonalds TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO,personally...but anyway,my experience there (which would have been two weeks ago),was that they will give you several packets of ketchup,but that the sauces they use,like for McNuggets,or salad dressings (which,BTW,they made smaller, as it were),they do charge you for additional ones beyond the first extra one.
Yeah, KFC is the same way. But I find the quantity of free sauces is correctly portioned to the food I ordered, so it has never been an issue for me. I guess it would be annoying if you like a lot of sauce.
I went to this upscale restaurant a few weeks ago and had a pretty decent time with my GF and a decent meal too.
I got the check and something seemed off. It seemed a little bit too high so I checked the receipt closely and I saw that those Sons of bi__ches charged us $0.99 a minute for breathing oxygen. I angerly called the waitress over and she confirmed the fee. I paid my bill and stormed out of there and the waitress gave me an evil eye for not tipping her. A few days later when I checked my bank statement I saw that she went ahead and added a 20% tip to my bill and then I got charged a No Tipping penalty fee of 10%.
Man what is this world coming to!!!!!
Why did you take it out on the waitress? It is not her fault. You deserve to be charged more than 20
% for lack of class.
She/he works there, they therefor support the establishment! I hope the person who had his credit card changed disputed the charge!!
I dont know who you are but my family runs a restaurant and although we don't support the "people" you mention of that are cheap and It seems like it’s because you are a waiter/waitress as well. I also worked in several restaurants, I actually haven’t seen many people you mentioned in your comment but it’s not right when you are being charged for breathing air. What the waiter/waitress did is illegal and if you are supporting it then your entire argument is invalid. Maybe you should get a education so you don’t have to work as a waiter/waitress. I moved so far from the point where I was that waitress and I have never seen anyone that complained as much as you did. This is why you don’t deserve a tip. if you say waiters/waitresses make their living through tips then find another job. It seems as if the only place you belong is working minimum wage.
99 cents per minute for air? You're right, you really got ripped off. The most you should ever pay for air is 50 cents a minute. And most restaurants charge by the hour.
Sorry, man. Rough experience.
Were you made aware of the charge for the time spent at the restaurant, when you sat down? If not, you should have disputed the charge with the manager and refused to pay. Second, regardless of whether I agree with your decision to not tip the waitress, I have to ask WHY you did not call the establishment and dispute the charge. If you had called the bank or the credit card company, they would have removed that 20% and 10% charge which is NOT on your copy of the credit card receipt. Did you strike out the area against "Tip"?
Your mistake was paying with a credit card. Pay with cash and you can leave with no tip and not worry about being jipped later.
How about they charge you $5 for peanut sauce for dumplings at a high-end Chinese restaurant! (Le Piment Rouge in Montreal) SHAME!
With today's technology I don't understand why places will not split checks. When I visit my sister in CA, most of the restaurants refuse to split the check... even when we went to the Cheesecake Factory. The Cheesecake Factory that had the same exact computer system as the ones here in NC (where every restaurant will split the check). The Cheesecake Factory that has check splitting built into the ordering system. And yet they refused to split the bill. Why California, why?
As a restaurant owner, I can tell you why restaurants dislike splitting checks. It has nothing to do with the technology or the speed of processing the sale. It has to do with theft. Many times, when there is a table with multiple checks, one of the checks will go "missing" at the end of the night. 8 people dine, 7 people pay and the one person will skip out without paying. This is especially true when customers have to come up to a register to pay. The waitstaff and/or cashier have to be really attentive to keep this from happening. It's just easier to say "no separate checks".
So you train your people to be really attentive! Your excuse is so lame as to be ridiculous! Please tell us the name of your restaurant and I will advise my friends to all use separate tables when they go there, see what that does to effeminacy..
You're an idiot and an ass.
I'm not a hospitality professional, but I'm fairly certain that your friends each sitting at a table for one will cause anyone to become, nor overcome, being effeminate..
I have no doubt this is annoying and frustrating, but the reality is pretty much anyone under the age of 30 doesn't carry cash. (I'm in my 30s. When I dine with younger friends it drives me nuts.) But you're not going to change an entire generation who only carries plastic.
I stopped carrying cash as soon as I started getting credit cards in my early 20s. The benefit that I see is that it is much easier to keep track of your expenditure 'cuz it is right there on your CC statements.
Rose, that doesn't explain why such a large portion of the country has no problem with splitting checks, but a few places (like CA) seem to be completely against the practice. I guess those San Franciscans are just a bunch of thieves that restaurant owners have to protect themselves against! Or maybe it's just a cultural phenomenon that surprisingly hasn't changed.... yet.
Not only have I never run into a restaurant in NC that would separate checks, but they assume the check will be separated before you even say anything. Often the waiter/waitress will ask "How would you like the check divided" before you even order.
The most ridiculous charge I have ever seen was in Greece (and they may still do it) – "service" which included the bread, flatware, napkins, and water. Flatware and napkins?? I often wanted whip out a camping set from my tote and say, "oh, no thank you. I brought my own so please take off the charge."
You will find that charge in a lot of countries, especially around the Mediterranean. We have that cost in America too, but it is rolled up in the price of the food. In many countries laws require that service be a separate charge from the food. The logic being the server, dishwasher, busboy, etc are not involved in the making of the food so the restaurant can not legally include their cost in the food. Other countries may not have a law requiring it but restaurants still break out the charge out of tradition. Whether the charge is rolled up in the food price or broken out separately the total bill is still going to be the same price. If you think its an unnecssary charge, its only because its an itemized charge you can see. In America its out of sight out of mind. Hopefully you did not tip American style. In Greece tipping is not obligatory and done for good service, typically 10%.
Oh, you're correct that it is a cost we pay regardless. It just looks idiotic on the receipt and feels like I'm being drachma'd (now euro'd) to death. It's like paying $275 for around of golf and being charge $3 for the yardage card; charge me $278 for the round of golf and give me the darn card. You're also correct about the tipping. Luckily I have family there so they've always been able to give me a bit of guidance on those types of practices.
That cost is in most European countries and it is how you pay for your table. It's a cover. Should you stay the evening and monopolize that table, then you're good. Relax, it wasn't that much.
Reblogged this on Picky Purple Eaters and commented:
Being picky. I love this.
If you're going to charge extra for ketchup with a burger, then please give discounts to people who pass on the onion, pickle, etc. Won't do it? Then you're cheap hypocrites!
100X This! I can't consume any dairy. If I order a burger that normally comes with a fairly pricey cheese on it, why am I charged the same amount when not served the expensive ingredient?! But if there's a surcharge for something – you bet it'll be on the bill. When that happens, I tip appropriately and then explain to management exactly why I'll never patronize again, nor recommend the restaurant to anyone.
CHick-Fil-A does this... ask for no tomato, and they take 20 cents off
Can I fart for free at the table? Will they charge for how long/loud the fart lasts?
Yes you will because that's rude!
That's not rude! Just blame it on the waiter.
If you don't want to pay for it, don't buy it. Go ahead and disparage your waitress and the establishment, just don't be surprised to find yourself served in a defamation lawsuit. Happens more than you think.
As well, refusing to pay for something you ordered can easily result in being arrested and charged with theft of services. Again, more than you think have learned the hard way.
how do they charge you for not finishing food on your plate? I paid for the meal, if i wanted to walk it to the restroom and flush it down the toilet, I would do so and would not pay a cent extra.
Kinda makes sense at buffets. Not a policy I would introduce if I owned one, though.
I can see buffets charging for excessive waste, but what if the portion you took is simply bad, or not to your liking?
I once worked with a gentleman who was on the Atkins diet. At the pizza buffet, he would scrap off all the toppings, eat them and leave all the crust to throw away. Very embarrasing.
I have over 15 years in the industry as a bartender/mixologist. In California, this IS an industry standard. Not an occasional rule, but a standard. If you order a "normal" mixed drink, it is either a 1.25 or 1.5 oz pour, depending on the establishment. A "$rocks" pour or "$neat" pour (this is how the modifier button looks in the computer interface, means that the bartender pours 2 oz. A $martini pour usually means a 3 oz pour, often for $2-3 more.
I know that the customer is always supposed to be right, but not in this case. This is just flat out ignorance and stupidity when they complain about this. The irony is that they are actually the ones benefiting from this, NOT the house. For example, let's say you buy a Johnnie Walker Blue label as a standard pour for $40. That's 1.5 ounces for $40 or $26.67 per ounce. Then you order a Johnnie Walker Blue label $neat for $40 plus the $2 upcharge. Thats 2 ounces for $42 or $21.00 per ounce. The CUSTOMER is getting a better deal. Obviously, most people don't order the $40 shot, but consider that most spirits poured neat are in the $20+ range, your "savings" will usually be in the 18-20% range by ordering the $neat or $rocks pour. It's math people. The math you said you would never need again.
You are getting 33% more product for $2. The only way you get cheated is if the product you are buying costs less than $6. If you are drinking a $4 spirit "neat" then you are some classy dude drinking Barton's from a plastic cup?!
Please use logic and think about what you complain about before you air it out online. Articles like this vilify people that are actually doing YOU a favor. #emperorsnewclothes #thinkbeforeyouspeak
$40 for a shot of whiskey? I don't think so! talk about overpriced! This is why i almost never buy alcohol at a bar or restaurant. The markup is insane! I can buy a bottle of good liquor at the liquor store for what you charge for a single drink.It will last a lot longer, I can enjoy it in the comfort of my own home, and I don't have to worry about driving.
Reminds me of a George Thorohgood Song....I drink alone!
That's a pretty scary upcharge, but Johnny Blue is $200 a bottle. And worth every penny.
MOST shots are in the 20.00 per shot range? Are you high?
apparently there are two morons here that don't know how awesome Johnny Walker Blue label is. it comes in it's own velvet case and has its own unique serial number. it's $200.00 for a 1/5 retail.
You da moron, the were commenting on the AVERAGE SHOT being $20. Not JW Blue.
Nope. Not high. Go to any bar and order a Lagavulin or Johnnie Blue or Remy XO – the spirits that are ordered "neat". Although you might find these for $12-15 at a dive bar, any restaurant or higher end bar will charge $20+ for the shot. So many of you are saying that this mark up is crazy and that bars are ripping people off because "I can buy a bottle for that price" type of mentality. Once again, you need to be knowledgeable about the business before you draw your guns and start firing away. For simple minds, this is how it may seem. However, you must take in many factors and variables that go into your one drink. Many bars have live bands or singers as entertainment. Factor that into the price. One place I worked only used Riedel magnum glassware. We are talking about glasses that cost $10-25 EACH. Consider that you lose a percentage every day to theft and/or breakage. Factor that in. The nicer the establishment, the more employees they will staff. Get where this is going? You can't just say that the markup is ridiculous without taking in the big picture.
I think the lowest I'm ever seen a shot of JW Blue was $27 at a beach bar in Hermosa Beach. Most establishments will charge $30-40. There are roughly 12-13 neat-shots in a bottle that cost $225 plus tax. So each shot will cost the house $17-19. They are selling it with a 200% mark up. You all say that the mark up is absurd, but ONCE again it's shouting out before you do the math. A 200% mark up is completely reasonable and a standard in every business. If you want to complain about something, complain about the restaurants that mark up their bottles of wine by 300-400%. #logicisgreat
Back to the main issue here. The argument isn't about whether or not you should validate paying $40 for a single shot. Hell, we have a cocktail that costs $500 on our menu that has Louis XIII in it. My argument is that many people, like this author, make erroneous claims that they are getting ripped off – being charged $2 for no reason. This is all a matter of semantics. If you order a spirit "neat", you are saying to the bartender/mixologist, "I'd like this poured straight, with a heavier pour, and a $2 upcharge". There is no problem with asking for a spirit with no ice. You will get the smaller pour, and not be charged the $2 fee. This would be like buying a plane ticket and saying "I want first class", then complaining about the price of the ticket. And your response would be "I just meant that I wanted to be treated FIRST CLASS, not that I wanted to pay for the extra amenities!". If you order a "vodka martini" it is going to cost $2-3 more because you are GETTING A BIGGER POUR.
In your defense, it is the onus of the server to make this all clear to the customer at the point of sale. I'm sure many stupid bartenders just say things like "I don't know why it's more, it just is". However, some of us are not idiots and can explain the math and rationale behind this industry standard. My comments aren't meant to hate on people for not knowing this. My grief is towards the author who has exhibited pour journalism and didn't research his topic before he spewed out his opinion.
Meh. All bars are overpriced, and all bartenders are overpaid. I don't care if you're 'giving' me that extra .5 ounces for a lesser rate. (Because you're really not 'giving' me anything for free or a lesser rate.)
Giftwrap a turd, and it's still a turd.
$40 for a shot?wow, they must be on crack to think id pay that!
Really, for a $40 shot, bar is interested in squeezing $2-$3 more from a customer for a 1/2 oz more alcohol?? If you're still wondering why the customer is complaining then you really dont know how to run a business.
Here's an easy way to solve this – why not serve the same amout of alcohol as in neat as in rocks and charge one price for neat or rocks!!
I own a very upscale bar in the South, and that is what we do. BTW we have a shot that sells for over $100.
So Simple, it seems that your name is very appropriate. Are you seriously recommending that a business give away more product for free because YOU (never worked there, analyzed the profit margins of said product, have a cost analysis spreadsheet in front of you) THINK that they are making enough money already? Are you absurd? If I went to a Best Buy to get a television, and said I wanted a 42 inch screen, but would only pay for a 40, you would say "I'm sorry, the 42 inch costs more sir." To which, you are suggesting Best Buy just GIVE me a larger television because I THINK they already make enough? I'm really hope you're not teaching some form of economics class anywhere.
What drives me crazy are the delivery charges for food. When I order a pizza, why do I need to pay a $2 delivery charge and then still be expected to tip the driver for walking the 10 feet from the car to my doo
With delivery charge, you're paying for the hourly rate (granted, sub-minimum, but still there) and things like worker's comp. insurance that the restaurant has to pay the driver (who isn't needed for carry-out orders). The tip is to cover the gas to get to your door. Maybe they should add the costs of the employee plus their gas into the price and offer a discount for carryout, but you're talking about an extra $5 to $10 per order when all added up, which is a little different than the types of charges talked about in the article, and probably wouldn't be received as well by customers.
Oh my gosh do you really need this explained to you???? Hahahaha!
Than get yourself up and out of the lazy boy and go get it yourself
If you do not want to pay the poor delivery person do not ask for delivery. Go get the food yourself.
It's funny how many people are responding to this article with serious attitude and saying that they own a restaurant and have to charge extra for these things to make a profit. I haven't heard anyone (including the author) say restaurants shouldn't charge for all of their costs plus a fair profit. What I'm seeing suggested is that restaurants should do what almost all other businesses do and include all of those costs into the pricing of their products instead of trying to nickel and dime their customer with extra charges on top of the actual menu items purchased.
Also, the "It' s my place and I'll do things the way I want, not the way the customer wants" attitude shown in many posts undoubtedly has more to do with why a lot of these owners are struggling than anything to do with costs of business does.
Owning a business doesn't mean you don't have any bosses, instead it means you have more bosses than the employee does. Every customer you do business with is your boss when you're the owner.
Basically you are saying that you would love to pay 5% more for your meal, so some cheapskate can fill their purse full of condiments? Please think before you speak. A reasonable amount of condiments should come with the meal, any more than that is should be paid for. If you like to have lots of ketchup, you should have to pay for it.
But the charge talked about in the article is for ANY amount of condiments, not just excessive amounts. Also, I'm not saying I prefer one way or the other, I'm saying that looking at it from a marketing standpoint, less customers will be annoyed with slightly higher prices than surcharges whether you or I agree or not.
McDonalds should pay us to eat their crap...but on the other side of the coin, lab rats aren't paid.
As a professional cook, I agree with up charges for split plates. Servers rarely plate food, maybe desserts, but in most cases all food is plated by cooks and chefs. That being said, when we have 15 tables worth of orders and split plates come in, on top of all the other special requests we frequently deal with, it slows production. People don’t seem to realize that the special requests they make add time to their wait. It is never just one or two people that ask for something special, so we have to keep track of every nit picky thing people want. Also, we don’t view the split plate thing as “sharing food.” We see it as you being too cheap order your own entrees. Splitting an appetizer or dessert that is one thing; splitting an entrée is just cheap. My last job didn't even allow split plates unless we were slow. The chef just told them no, and the servers brought them an extra plate. The restaurant industry is non-stop, hard work; we rarely get complimented or thanked. We just keep hearing complaints from people who don’t appreciate the amount of time and work it takes to put out their meals. I'm in the industry for two reasons, because I love food and enjoy letting people take a day off from cooking so they can spend time with people they care about. This often requires me to sacrifice time with the people I care about and to work holidays. So, please, give us break.
In MY restaurant we slide another plate under the entree plate. WOW That's difficult! There's no charge for splitting.
Agree. This is the way I've always seen this handled. At most, if one person doesn't order at all and wants to split with someone else, the item will arrive on its own plate, and two empty plates come along with it.
I have never once seen a restaurant physically separate an order.
I have, and it's a really nice surprise. They didn't even charge extra for it, though I would have been fine with a small fee. It was clear that there were more of the sides than would have gone onto one plate, and the presentation was nice. Tipped well that night.
Believe it or not, at the restaurant I work, people do not want to separate their own sometimes. Especially, if it is a difficult dish to separate like a lasagna. They would rather the kitchen do it and bake each half separately. I give them the choice to do this on their own for free or pay the share charge, which also includes an extra salad.
That is an EXCELLENT idea. Saves everyone time and hassle and the customers can share away! When my husband and I go out to dinner with our sons, we often all share with each other what is on our plate and we all order something different. It's a lot of fun and then we all can try four different things. We just share amongst ourselves not expecting the staff to split our plates up that is just silly.
Also, you get complimented and thanked by CUSTOMERS COMING IN TO YOUR ESTABLISHMENT. If you think it's 'too much trouble' to split a plate I suggest you not be in the restaurant business and stop moaning and complaining about what the CUSTOMER wants!! Sheesh.
Do you know how many times my wife and I have gone out to eat but neither of us were very hungry? We went out to eat just to get out of the house not bc we wanted to go to eat. While you call it cheap, I call it smart. Why would we order two entree's when we will not finish them both- that I would call a waste. Many times we order just 1 entree bc we are not really that hungry we just wanted to get out of the house, and neither of us like wasting food. I will say though we just ask for an extra plate and have never asked for the cook to split the meal.
I disagree about splitting entrees because we're too cheap to pay for our own. My husband and I split all the time because otherwise the portions are too big for just one person to eat..and my husband doesn't like leftovers. Even when we were on per diem and had $40 each to spend on the meal, we split it because the entrees were too big. And no one has ever split it up in the kitchen. the server always just brings an extra plate.
Absolutely agree. There's no reason why I would buy more food than I actually want. Dani may think that her food is so awesome that just being there is an honor, but sometimes I just want dinner.
If it's an occasional dinner out, I don't mind bringing home leftovers for the next day, but what if we're travelling? When we're eating out every night for a week or two, the portions are so overwhelming you can't even look forward to it, and there's no way to do leftovers in a hotel room. Sometimes we'll just order appetizers instead of meals, but in many places, appetizers are more like junk food. Splitting an entree is the sensible way to go.
Simple fact is in many restaurants the portion sizes are simply to large. I don't like waste and don't expect anyone to divide my food but it's nice to have an extra plate. I always tip as if we both ordered the same entree. $30 for the lamb gets tipped as $60 if I split the plate.
Which professional kitchen do you "work" in, I will be sure to visit the restaurant down the street instead.
The folks I know who want a "split" plate don't ask the staff to 'split" the plate for them; they "split" the plate themselves at the table either by eating off the same plate or using one of those bread plates put on the table. They also don't "split" the plate because they are too cheap. It is often because the portions are just too large for one person, especially when ordering for senior citizens or young kids (like 6-9 yr olds) who want to order a regular meal not chicken nuggets.
So it's okay for a restaurant to discourage you from bringing your own wine by charging a corkage fee, but it's NOT okay for a restaurant to discourage you from eating someone else's food by charging a fee for splitting the dish? What a dope! And yes, a neat whiskey should have more booze than one served chilled or on the rocks, and most sophisticated drinkers are aware of this (at least in my experience), so it is perfectly fine to charge more. Just like you would expect to pay more for the regular cut of steak than you would for the petite cut.
Lots of complaining over 50 cents..
I agree!! Everyone keeps saying it's not about the cost of the meal, they just don't want to waste food. So why the whining about a 50 cent or even $1.00 charge? And, by the way, the restaurant that you want to go to because you just want to get out of the house, or you don't feel like cooking or whatever is there to make a living. The owner has to pay payroll, insurances, utilities, rent, food costs, etc. If every table came in and sat for 2 hours over one plate, the restaurant would go out of business for sure. The server and busboy who need to be attentive to these customers need to get paid. And let me guess, keep the free water refills coming!! Let's add the dishwasher's pay to this list.
Restaurants are a BUSINESS and they struggle, more often than not, to keep their heads above water. The cost of food rises every day (fuel increases, floods in Florida, every excuse in the book) but they cannot raise their menu prices by much or they lose their clientele. The profit margin shrinks every day (minimum wage increases, insurance costs).
So let's fill the dining room with couples who only want to pay for one meal. And not ask a measly sum to help out.
I cannot belive they pay someone to write this aweful crap !!!
Who is that JERK writer whom obviously knows nothing about running a restaurant!
All fast foods have increased their prices on their meals....what I found crazy....WENDY"S....A single was 1 price and if you wanted cheese, that was a different price...I totally got that...but now ALL the burgers automatically come w/cheese....so for a person like me, who NEVER eats cheese, I still have to pay the same price as if I were getting cheese.....and that is NOT fair
What? It has taken how long to figure out that Wendy's bases its burger price based on every burger having all the toppings, knowing full well that many kids will get their burger with ketchup only, but still have to pay full price for all the toppings.
I've encountered this, and I live in a medium-sized town in the Midwest, not in NYC. One of our local restaurants that we recently visited charged us for extra butter. We had asked for side of butter with our baked potatoes and were charged $0.30 per person. This was a casual dining restaurant, and I was shocked, but I said nothing to the server nor did I deduct it from her tip. I will, however, think twice about going to that restaurant again. It just seems extremely petty if you are already paying $30-$35 for lunch for two people.
I've also encountered two local fast food places (both chains) that do this. I wanted a hamburger but to substitute a salad for the french fries. Both places wanted to charge approx. $1.00 extra to change the side. Seriously? A few bits of iceberg lettuce and a couple cherry tomatoes cost that much more than fries?
Other places do try to charge $0.25 for packets of sauce (like Honey Mustard or BBQ) if you don't order nuggets, or if you ask for more than the one you are allotted. I guess that's better than begging for two extra ketchup packets or an extra napkin.
The cost of a salad is at least double of the cost of the french fries? Why would you expect to get a more expensive side for the same price? I just don't get how people come up with this stuff. French fries don't go bad in the freezer. Salad ingredients do go bad. All these things have to be figured in to the price, or you will be going out of business very quickly.
lol IT MEANS YOU ARE A M F TROUBLE MAKER AND TIGHT!! JUST APPRECIATE WHAT THEY ARE DONING !! THEY ARE DOING FOR LIFE !! NICE MANNERS NO COMPLAINTS !!!
Last call a bit early this evening?
Couple issues with some of the topics in this article. First off, I've been bartending for 6 years at a non-franchise Irish place. We use a count system. One, two, three, and at three you stop the pour. As long as you're counting at the right speed, your pours will be the same in every drink, regardless if they're neat or on the rocks, or even in a mixed drink. We serve our neat drinks in the same cups as our mixed shots, whereas a drink on the rocks is usually put into a tumbler, unless it's a higher-shelf liquor. Same pour, same price, rocks or no rocks. Other places may do this because they pour differently. My advice is to take a brief moment and ask your bartender or server, provided they're not crazy busy.
As far as the gratuties go, for anyone who thinks 20% gratuity is unreasonably high, I suggest you consider what our wages are. I'm especially lucky at my place, because I get paid $5/hr, which is more than double what most other servers make. Even so, every other paycheck is $0.00 thanks to taxes. My average check (when there's any money left at all) hovers around $40 -$50. When you don't tip, you actually COST us money, because we're still being taxed. My rule of thumb is if you're in a new place or don't know the bartender, leave a dollar per drink if the drink is under $5. Any higer, bump it up. At $6 a drink, $1.50 is still 30%, which puts you above the standard 20%. This kind of stuff gets noticed by bartenders. Doesn't mean we'll slide you a free drink next time, but we remember, and it comes back to you.
Finally, to the guy in an earlier comment who suggested 'we should get a job someplace else if we don't like the pay'... It ain't always that simple, buddy.
Sorry on that figure, at $6 a drink a $1.50 tip is 25%. Had a senior moment.
Like you'll get many senior tips now.
Lets see extra plate...somebody has to serve it, remove it clean it off & then the dishwasher has to wash it which takes 3 different ingredients that combined cost $170 used in a machine that costs thousands of dollars. That's just an extra dam plate. Extra napkins cost money . Credit card fees run in the 1000s of dollars per month. Having opened multiple restaurants (all of which are still open) every single last penny counts.you have to include all of those costs into your menu items regular price so you don't look like a schmuck trying to up charge for credit card fees or extra plates.People on the outside think its easy money, what it is is a game of percentages, where expansion means employment and contraction means letting people go. Anybody trying to run a successful business let alone a restaurant knows if your not counting your pennies them somebody else is spending them, wasting them or worst of all stealing them.
THANK YOU Bmd! So true.
THANK YOU Bmd. Very true
If you are going to charge me for an extra plate then I'll spend my pennies else where. The charges you mentioned are excuses- is it really hard or time consuming for a waitress to bring another plate- really? dishes are washed by a machine and I find it hard to believe that it cost or takes a lot of time for a dishwasher (making min wage) to add another plate into the machine. Charging extra to bring out an extra plate is just plain cheap and greedy. If you want to count pennies that close then just server your meals on paper plates. How many people go out to eat just to hang out but aren't really hungry? If you are going to be that much of a d!(k then many of us will find a different place to eat. It is you who needs our business- as there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. No way would I or any of my friends pay a restaurant an extra charge for an extra plate- what's next are you going to try and charge an extra fee for silverware too?
All the extra expenses explains why $0.15 of rice costs the customer $7.95.
It takes the same amount of effort and water to run a full rack of dishes through the dishwasher as it does a partially filled rack. One serving is one serving no matter how it's split.
Another pet peeve is paying extra for a child's serving. Again, it is the same amount of food whether the person eating it is 3 or 30
It should also be noted that during droughts and freezes where tomato supplies are tight, there have been times when tomatoes cost more per pound than the beef used in the hamburger. So sometimes there will be a charge for tomato on a sandwich or the tomato withheld unless you request it.
It's obvious that the writer has never worked in a restaurant.
Extra charge for condiments in fast food makes sense. People stock up on their own personal home supplies on the back of fast food chains. Sugar and sugar substitute packets and ketchup packets are big drawers for people who want to restock their home supplies – and chicken nugget sauces. People are unbelievable in their demands for nugget sauces – even for five piece ones. Charging extra for some of these supplies is not bad business or improper – in my experience it discourages home restockers and when you train your staff to be able to recognize 'reasonable" extras, you rarely have to charge for extra condiments – but having a clear policy makes it fair.
I also limited supplies of these items on the condiment stand so as to discourage being cleaned out – and believe me – they will clean you out of sugar substitutes and ketchup packets. I have no problem with people loading up ketchup in the little plastic cups since that ketchup is half the price by weight of ketchup packets.
Restaurants operate on very narrow profit margins – remember we are dealing with the cost of food upwards of 28-30% of the total sale and now the cost of labor adding nearly that much after all taxes and benefits added. In fast food you are happy with a 10% net profit on a great sales week – average of 5% when sales are tight.
When Wendys first came to my town, it was not that much of a hit. Their first unit failed miserably. Why? Ala carte charges. I remember how mad my dad got the first time we went down there as a family. We had been raised going about once every couple weeks to McDonalds and on most Tuesdays at A&W (the real one). A kid got a hamburger, small fries, and orange soda for about $2. On Tuesday at A&W, the coneys were 25 cents. Dad would let us order as large of a frosty mug of rootbeer as we wanted but we only got one order. But we could order three or four coneys.
Ok, why did he hate Wendy's so much. Well I can remember it like it was yesterday. You ordered your basic burger then they asked if you wanted everything on it. So your basic burger was $2. Then every additional item was 10 cents. So a $2 burger quickly became $3. Dad got the receipt was absolutely livid. We never, ever went back to Wendy's as a family ever again. I did not know they had changed that until roughly 20 years later when I started going back to get frosties and baked potatoes. Imagine the damage they did to themselves for that ala carte policy?
As a former corporate Wendy's manager, that never was ever the policy – some franchise may have charged extra for toppings, but that was never a Wendy's policy with one exception – tomatoes. I date back to 1981 and at that time tomatoes did cost extra – and so did cheese – when back was added a year or so later, that became an extra topping. But I can emphatically defend Wendy's – that was never a corporate policy – maybe in some urban areas where costs to operate are outrageous, but I've never heard of such a thing and I had nearly 20 years with the company.
I left Wendy's in 1997 and now will refuse to eat there because the quality and service is horrible and every product that I loved when I worked for them has been ruined – everything from the burgers, the buns, the frostys (which should never be anything but chocolate) to those disgusting fries. So I have no reason to defend Wendy's other than corporate restaurants are run differently than franchises – I know – I went to work for a franchise for a couple of months and they know it all – they think they can do their own thing and they don't even follow procedures that I knew like the back of my hand (I was a training store manager).
Two paragraphs and two sentences. Wow.
Two paragraphs, five sentences.
Don't go to Wendy's on a regular bases, but have been going there since about 1980. I have yet to have any of their stores charge me for each and every topping on the burger (excluding cheese).
To answer the "why charge extra for catsup but not for mustard or mayo," obviously the answer is that mustard and mayo are not a vegetable. Remember? Reagan's wonderfully brilliant administration declared catsup a 'vegetable' for the purposes of claiming that school lunches were 'balanced nutrition.' As for other fees.....I think charging for tap water is the most clsssless thing listed here. Steak sauce? Really?? In our country for most people in most places, steak sauce sort of comes "with" whether you use it or not, so to charge extra for someone to have the option seems miserly. If restaurants would offer acceptable portion sizes, people wouldn't have to split an entree. Perhaps if they offered "half size" as an option (at somewhat more than half the cost of "full-sized" most people would simply order that. Fee built in, nobody feels ripped off. And $20 for corkage? OMFG thats half the price of a bottle (ok, I'm cheap on wine – $40 is about the norm for me when eating out, although for a special occasion I'll go as high as $200)
My chronically broke college house-mate used to go to Wendy's and fill his pockets with free ketchup packets and saltines, and bring them home to make soup from them.
He always seemed to have money for smokes, though.
I guess you can't make free soup from mustard!
A really good sushi buffet in Va. Beach does the fee for leftovers idea. I honestly thought it was a great idea. Encouraged people to take what they will eat. Anything left over was simply weighed at the end and a nominal fee was charged. It also kept the cost of enterance to 12.95/person for some really good sushi.
It's a good idea, especially for those of us raised on the unhealthy standard of the "clean plate club." But many sushi bars simply charge by the number of dishes when you're done – so you pay for it whether you eat it or not. I would think this is ample financial motivation, without penalizing you additionally if you realize you can't finish what you took (and what is therefore not fit for others/recycling). don't they keep a barn cat in the back alley?
That would be one fat cat.
but wouldnt that also encourage waste? if i couldnt eat it all i may not be willing to pay to take it home..or am i misunderstanding?
Most sushi buffets charge for uneaten rice. Because otherwise some people would eat loads of the fish only, which would far exceed the price of the buffet. I understand and agree with this. I don't agree with weighing your leftover plate and forcing you to pay extra, especially if it's not strictly sushi.
I only tip if the waitress really deserves or wants it, or unless she is a 10. Then it's an automatic tip.
Along the bagel lines, there's the same type of law in California about sandwiches.
Go into Subway, decline to have your food toasted, and as long as there are no other hot parts of the sandwich (bacon, meatballs, or the like), it's not taxed, as deli food is not taxed.
Get your sandwich toasted? Whoops, time to pay sales tax for a "prepared meal."
This is easy. Charge more across the board for each meal and give "free" food (and plates) away.
This makes one look generous.
Or charge for each added item. This is more fair since the the desirer pays for the item, but feels stingier.
Two things make people upset easily. Money and food (when they are hungry). Poor restaurants get hit twice.
In my experience, the more troublesome people are worst tippers. They make the entire dinning experience retched. If someone starts with whining about this that and the other, prepare yourself to get stiffed.
These folk live to complain. It is their job. You cannot fix them, so it is best not to try. Since they will demand all of your attention taking you away from other guests, it is best to ignore them as much as possible. This makes their job easier too since they have more to complain about.
Have a code amongst management and waitstaff for these nightmares. Code Mixed nuts, for example. Then everyone knows the game, and discourage these people from coming back. They only take.
Don't be afraid to ask them to leave; your going to lose the price of a meal very likely anyway.
I disagree completely with the writer's assertion that credit card processing fees should not be the customer's concern. In fact these fees are killing small businesses especially on items where profit is already low. The customer should have to pay the fees their own damn selves.
It's called charging more. Most companies that do mostly credit card transactions build it into the price of their goods. What I'd like to see is a discount for using cash. Some places do that, but most don't. I use cash where there's a discount. I use my debit card as a credit card where there isn't.
There are costs for processing cash (loss, counting, armored car) and checks, but it's not as easy for the business to quantify. Also most card processing agreements prohibit charging more to use the card.
But they don't prohibit an owner from figuring $X average CC charges per month divided by Y average individual menu items sold per month (which is likely well less than one dollar if not pennies per individual menu item in all but the most expensive restaurants) and adding that to the menu pricing. Either way the extra amount gets added to the check, but customers are much less likely to notice and complain about this method than they are a special surcharge.
But more importantly, the wait staff shouldn't pay the credit card fees, which is all too often what happens. The restaurant collects tips in the form of credit card promises and then subtracts the credit fees from the tip side of the check instead of the cost side of the check.
As a consumer, you should write "cash" in the tip line of the credit form and then tip cash. Leaves the restaurant to pay the credit card charge and also apply their formula to what the server should be taxed. As a customer, I always tip big and in cash to insure my server gets 100% of the tip and the employer has no friggin' clue as to what I tipped.
Charging the server credit card fees? ILLEGAL!!!!
LEGAL in Oregon and several other states. I am a server an I pay a percentage of the credit card processing fees on every card I run.
"U.S. Department of Labor does
allow employers who must pay a percentage of each credit card sale as a service charge
to pay the employee the amount of the tip less the same percentage." From oregon.gov website
It's not the ones who complain and act like pains you have to worry about, it's the ones who act perfectly civil but decide to start spending their dining dollars at the competition you have to worry about. They're the ones who cost you the most in lost business, and therefore lost tips.
charging the consumer the credit card fee could have benefits- like making the consumer aware that it cost money to use that card and perhaps more people would revert back to cash instead of spending that extra fee. I doubt it would have a big impact, but anything that keeps people from using plastic rather than cash is a good thing. Just think of how many people are still paying interest on that cheeseburger they ate 4 months ago.
lots of places actually make the servers pay for credit card fees. the system automatically takes a percentage of credit card tips out on the checkout. another reason not tipping actually causes servers to lose money. especially on takeout orders. if you're tipping out based on sales, you get hit there on togo orders who don't tip. then, if they pay with a credit card. then the time and effort it takes to put everything together... be nice to your servers. they see some of the worst in society on a nightly basis, and many states do only pay $2.13. that includes, in many cases, taking out your garbage, cleaning the bathroom after you pee on the seat/floor, having disgusting fluids splashed into their faces... some of you people are really unbelievable.
We get that it is a bad system. But, the question is if it is such a bad system why are people working in/with it? If the credit card fees are being taken out of the tip, then the employer is screwing the workers. Why should the customers step in to compensate for that? Now you want people to tip on "to go" orders? How about people just come by, on their way home, to give money to the waitstaff, huh?
– $2.13 wage
– taxes held on an assumed 20% tip on the total sales
– 7% automatic tip-out to the bussers
– credit card fees being taken out of the tip amount
– no overtime pay
. the list goes on...
WHY do you work in this profession?? Fight the system, fight the employer but don't demand that the customers take care of you. The customer has an agreement with the establishment to pay the cost of the food and the tax. That's it. Rest, such as the tip %, manner of tip payment, tip on the check amount or pre-tax, no tip on to-go orders etc are at the DISCRETION of the customer.
Why do people work at jobs with low pay and difficult conditions? Because the economy has been poor and there is a great deal of competition for better paying jobs. Because they are in the process of training for better paying jobs. Because they are juggling caring for children or parents and this is the best they can do right now. Because this is the skill level they are at this point in time. I hope there is a sense of compassion for those who did not have the fortune of families who encouraged college or advanced training (and often supported it financially) or those whose circumstances are what they are. There but for the grace go I. Social responsibility is a concern when others pay is very low and we are benefiting. Sometimes people just make bad choices. Haven't we all?
fantastically put. lots of people do have college degrees (two BAs here) and can't find "real jobs" within their fields. for me, personally, i sort of blame advisers and the education system for not telling me "if you take professional writing/film, you'll never make money in oklahoma." too late did i sort of put together that the concept of college as i grew up understanding it is maybe a scam at this point. anyway, you people who are being so ignorant and harsh, don't be too condescending toward the people who serve you – decent chances they're more educated than you are.
You are off on a tangent! This is not about customers being condescending toward the waitstaff. I don't care if my waiter has a double PhD. This profession is NOT one where you can/should hope to make a 100K. The problem is that many take the job with the notion that 20% is a guarantee. Let the establishments pay them a decent wage and pass it as a cost to the customers. I'm sure it will be lot less than the 20% of the check amount. So far, no one has been able to give a rational answer as to why it should be a climbing percentage or that it should even be a percentage. Anyone who screws up their nose at a, say 15% tip on a $100 check is the one who is creating a bad name for all in that profession. Waiting IS a real job. It is just NOT a high paying job nor should it be.
The point is not that we shouldn't be compassionate towards less fortunate individuals. The issue here is that just one seemingly low paying, tough profession alone cannot be nursed by other people. Compassion is one thing and demand that you pay a certain amount because they took a low paying job is another. The waitstaff complain about how bad it is with the job, the employer, the IRS etc. But, instead of fighting with them for a change, they are pushing the customers to compensate. I'm all for better wages i.e. fed min wage regardless of the tip that people give them. If paying them fed min wage pushes the price of the food, so be it. But, it cannot be "they don't pay me well. So, you HAVE TO pay me at least 20% of the check amount". That's ridiculous. Social responsibility should be towards ALL people whose wages are low and are providing a service. So, let's start tipping McDonald's workers, the garbage collectors, the street sweepers etc. I'm sure garbage collection is much more strenuous a job.
As eloquently stated by Joe Pesci in one of the Lethal Weapons movies..."they F@#! you at the drive through"
There is a Chinese restaurant in Dublin, CA charge you $200 more in weekend(Fri-Sun) banquet per table (10 peopel). Same menu.
actually, i dont have a problem with buffet charging extra. you can eat as much as you want but do not just throw food away because you think it is your right to do so. get a life.
I HATE mayonnaise. I explicitly asked that my sandwich NOT have mayonnaise. It came with mayonnaise. (I don't even like the smell.) Okay, it happens. I nicely asked for two new slices of white bread. They came. Charge: 30 cents. Okay, I took the mayonnaisey pieces of bread and left them face down on the table. Not a graceful moment, but really? 30 cents?
Right with you there. Cannot stand the stuff.
On the second thought, they can charge extra for anything they want. The question is if it is good for business. If the restaurant wants return business, I can't imagine it would be worth their while to annoy customers with petty charges. On the other hand, I don't think a fast food place on a busy street, or a hotel in Vegas cares about return business, so they would charge you for ketchup, napkins and a glass of water, because the idea is to siphon as much money out of you as possible on your one an only visit there.
Are we going like Europe paying for a glass of water and toilet.
Thats why people are peeing on the streets.
In most countries pay restrooms are well-worth the charge. They are clean, even sparkling, well-lighted, and convenient. When I was a boy the train station in my town had pay toilets. It is not a new idea, and not one that has never been tried in the U.S.
I remember pay toilets here in the US and i'm not that old...well guess that would depend on whether you considered 48 old.
I remember those, too – they led to that classic poem of American literature:
Here I sit, broken hearted
Paid my dime ...
And people are getting on Drew Brees's case for only tipping $3.00 for a takeout order??
no kidding. once someone tried to charge me extra for some stupid bs like this, the waitor or waitresses tip would disappear altogether...
Why blame the waiter for a fee management/owner put on and benefits from, certainly NOT the waiter?
restaruant trying to slip in charges that are not listed. not the customer's fault. and they don't have to work there, plenty of other places to work.
if the taking the order specifes extra cost beforehand, that is a different issue.
You have no idea what you are saying, obviously. At least, that's what I'm hoping and that it's just your lack of understanding of how the restaurant industry works that has led you to post such a cruel and miserly statement. Servers make 2.13 an hour and work their asses off to please their "guests" so they can use that 20 percent that you OWE them for rent, groceries, tuition, children, or whatever other expenses that that person might have. As for getting another job if they don't like it, look around at the unemployment rate; look around at the people living off government handouts instead of working at all. Is that what servers should do? Don't be a fool. Restauarnt employees are some of the hardest working people around. Sure, there are always exceptions to the rule. Not all doctors and lawyers work hard enough for what they are paid, either, but we don't stiff them. You should be ashamed of yourself. If you've ever gotten bad service in a restaurant, it's because a jackass like you came in just before you, jackass, and ruined your servers day. Now you know. Ps. Almost every server and bartender I have ever known was also a student and needed a flexible job that offered mostly evening hours to work around busy class schedules. They work hard, much harder than you have probably ever worked in your life, and they DESERVE 20 percent or MORE. Don't be a fool and spread your foolish words. And, until you learn how to take care of people, you aren't welcome in ANY restaurant. Cook for yourself, you lazy jackass.
Ahh.. another misguided fool, I see. No one OWES the waiter 20% for the rent, groceries etc. I agree that they are very hard working but so are many in other professions. Just because those people aren't customer facing, it doesn't mean that they deserve any less. So, if the establishment wants to pay them a higher wage and jack up the food prices, sure, let them go for it. The customer's contract is with the establishment. It is NOT with the waiter. So, if the customer covers the check amount, including the taxes, then he has upheld his part of the contract and therefore doesn't have to stay home and cook for himself/herself. Anything beyond the check amount is charity and it has to be at the discretion of the customer. That said, the customer is not superior and the waiter inferior because of the said business relationship between the two. The customer should not and doesn't get to treat the waitstaff badly.
So, either champion for the employers to pay the waitstaff the fed. min. wage or have the establishment tack on a 20% "seated" surcharge or have them display a notice at the door that unless the customer is willing to pay 20% tip, he/she is not welcome. Otherwise, I say that you should be quiet.
No, contrary to what the author says, surcharge for bread and butter is not justified, and it hurts restaurant business. Sure, bread costs money, but its $3 tops for a whole three-foot long baguette if you buy retail, whereas the restaurant will charge you this amount for three-four two-inch slices. So, the customers feel gouged and won't return and rightly so.
When we were given the wrong meal (both my wife and I) at Rudy's Teller House restaurant in Silverton, CO they brought out a second dish..then proceeded to charge us for both the incorrect one and the correct one. The owner came out (without us asking – he wasn't present when we ordered) and proceeded to tell us that we needed to order correctly next time, and he would be charging us the full amount for both. When I replied he walked away and flipped me off. Then...they added 18% tip to the ticket...then they added $6 for an empty plate that my twins used to split the adult meal that we got for them (just an empty plate with the meal).
I've been a waiter. That was a crazy bad experience. I feel sorry for the employees that are there and for anyone that is unlucky enough to find their way into the store. I paid cash so he couldn't rip us off any more by overcharging our card...that's how bad it was.
Certainly hope you voted with your feet.
I was ticked off enough that I posted reviews everywhere I could think of. So rude, and to think the owner is the one that was acting like that. I confirmed with the waiter that he was the owner because I just couldn't believe it. What really ticked me off is he came out when we had the meal corrected and I thought he was just coming out to see if everything was alright...then he started with a chip on his shoulder addressing my wife! I nearly voted with my foot in another way. It's when I stood up to talk to him that he walked away and flipped me off.
Btw – the twins that were splitting the adult meal where we only needed a second plate – 2 years old. We weren't being cheap, by any stretch.
I would have refused to pay for the incorrect order and had him call the police if he insisted. You were well within your rights to not pay for their mistake. Also, hopefully you immediately contacted your credit card company to dispute the charges. Finally, let's hope your online posts lead to this restaurant's failure. I also worked as a waiter many years ago and have traveled all over the country on business over the past 30 years eating in everything from dives to 5 star legendary restaurants. I've NEVER heard or seen of this type of action and no one should have to endure it.
Customers ultimately determine the efficacy of policies – if you are mistreated then you should never go back. Even if you did order the wrong thing or forgot, a proficient restaurant will want your repeat business and will seek to earn it by not treating you like you were treated. How a wrong order is handled by staff tells you a lot about how a restaurant is run – and if they'll screw you and blame you (even if it really was your fault), just imagine how their procedures for food safety!
Wife and I were at Las Vegas at a Wolfgang Pucks eatery. I expected to spend around a hundred. When I ordered salad they gave me a plate with two pieces of long lettuce at a cost of $18! I'm talking two leafs! I about blew a head gasket and told them to take if off the order. Rediculous pricing...as much as some hotels charging $12 for two eggs? Okay it was delivered to the room and the TIP? How much would you tip? $5? Absolutely crazy pricing.
I have to take the other side here. If you ordered something without understanding what you were getting you should pay for it. I've gone to many restaurants with menus that have minimal quantity – that doesn't mean I refuse to pay for what I order. Which one of Wolfgang's restaurants set you off? I've been to most of his in Las Vegas and have had great experiences. In June I hosted a group of 4 at a steakhouse for about a $700 bill (including 20% tip). In my opinion, if you aren't willing to pay for the restaurant or accept their offerings don't bother to go. You actions, after agreeing to order the salad at the list price, was absolutely unacceptable!
On a recent trip, we were charged for the lemon we asked to be added to our ice water. I can understand if people pile up a plate at a buffet and walk away without eating it. Charge a per pound price for it and send it home with people. Waste not, want not.
You're better off without the lemon, anyway. They drop the lemons on the dirty floor, then cut them up and put them in your drink. Eew. In fact, I've seen too many episodes of Restaurant Impossible to even get ice in my water.