Who Pays for It?

Recently, a woman ordered hot water with honey and lemon to drink and then produced her own tea bag, thereby cutting the cost of a drink off her meal.  Who pays for the lemon, honey and hot water?  Should there be a charge?  This was pretty extreme, and she was obviously abusing the system, but what about straws and lemons for water.  The restaurant has to purchase these items; should that charge be passed on to the customer?

According to this New York Post article, as more restaurants feel the pinch of the recession, they are charging for items which were previously free or they are no longer offering complimentary items such as bread, or in some cases, water. 

I have worked in restaurants which charged for every. single. extra.  The servers spent more time adding extras to tickets and explaining charges to irritated customers, than they did serving them.  I felt it was cheap and the restaurant owners were nickel and diming people right out of the restaurant.  Most people when confronted with extra charges take it out on the only person they can:  their server.

I tell people right up front when they order if there will be an extra charge.  I feel it is honest and it allows customers to decide whether or not they really want the item.  Some people agree to pay the extra; some get offended that everything isn’t free.  Most of the other servers do not inform customers of the additional charge and then there’s hell to pay at the register. 

I think there is a real thin line between what should be complimentary with a meal and abusing the system.  A lemon with water is acceptable, a bowl of lemons should be added to the ticket.  I don’t want to spend all of my time adjusting tickets if someone asks for an extra portion of ranch, but if you ask me to heat the bread pudding from the salad bar and give you cream with it, it’s called a dessert and it’s two bucks.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DarcsFalcon
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 01:11:03

    As a customer, I would appreciate knowing before I ordered that some things carried an extra charge, so I would know what to expect when the bill came. I also would not go into a restaurant with the intention of ripping off the establishment. To go in, ask for water, then bring your own tea – wtf? Next time use a thermos, lady, or stay home. Rude, rude people!


  2. DarcsFalcon
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 01:14:23

    Hey, while I'm thinking of it, have you seen this site?



  3. darcknyt
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 03:44:12

    Interesting thoughts. This one's hard for me. On the one hand, I see how a restaurant has to be careful not to give the farm away. On the other hand, things like drink refills are a given to me, and I'm always shocked when they're NOT free. They charge so much for the initial drink, I just assumed it HAD to be free.

    It's always eye-opening to hear from the other side of the register on things. They ARE in business to make money, after all.


  4. Sparkling Red
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 10:43:26

    I wouldn't mind paying for anything that the restaurant had to pay for, as long as it wasn't marked up to the moon, and as long as I was warned ahead of time.


  5. Holly
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 15:45:16

    Re: dinnersfromhell.com

    OMG! Some of the stories the servers tell on that site make me feel really good about my customers. Things can always be much worse.


  6. DarcsFalcon
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 23:04:24

    LOL I'm glad you liked it. 🙂


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