Not a lot of time to write today – we’re heading to California this week to see our son. I thought I would just relay this short story about our restaurant bill this weekend that borders on fraudulent – but is becoming more & more common.
Our tab came to a little over $50 – with tax – on Saturday night and we noticed a $1.64 “surcharge” added at the bottom of the bill. When we asked about it, the wait person said it was a “3% surcharge to cover higher food costs”.
I get that inflation is happening, but my friend followed-up asking, “why isn’t that simply reflected in the prices on the menu?” Her response was that “we didn’t want to have to print completely new menus.” This is despite the fact that their menus were simply black & white, 8.5 x 11” pieces of paper.
This seemed straightforward enough, but it bothered me that the surcharge just unexpectedly was on our bill. I asked, “aren’t you letting customers know ahead of time that there is a surcharge on the prices?” Astoundingly, she said, “we do – we printed a notice of it on the bottom of the menu.”
So they didn’t want to print new menus, but then they did it anyway?
Obviously something doesn’t add up with her explanation and they are trying to sneak through a 3% price increase. The menu only had about two dozen things on it, so it wouldn’t be hard to multiply the current prices by 1.03 and put it in their system.
Restaurants all over the country are reminding us to “let the buyer beware”. Customers are getting frustrated by the surcharges, automatic tips, health insurance add-ons, and ‘social justice fees’ that many restaurants have added.
They make the airline industry’s dedication to nickel-and-diming everyone – with their charges for baggage and seat assignments – look relatively forthright and transparent. At this restaurant, the view was beautiful, the food was OK, but the billing was highly suspect. I won’t be hurrying to go back there!
Let’s hear about your odd restaurant billing experiences!?
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