Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Jun 1, 2010 03:38 PM

le pain quotidien 2 sets of prices (moved from Los Angeles board)

I was looking at the menu at the counter. The counter guy asks if I want to eat there. I say I do and he directs me to the host/server. I give the server my order. When the bill comes, it's about $2 higher than the price I had seen. My server informed me that I was looking a the to-go menu, and that the prices are higher in the eat-in menu. Funny enough, there is a large note in the bill that says "price does not include service". really?

Is this practice normal/ethical/legal?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. That's rather odd. I saw on the news the other night last week where sales tax is added to purchases of all hot foods, and food that's not taken to go. Hot coffee is the an exception to the rule of hot food.

    2 Replies
    1. re: attran99

      "Hot coffee is the an exception to the rule of hot food."
      really? in all the coffee chains here in CA (Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Peet's, Starbucks, et al) they ask you "for here or to go?" when ringing you up, and add the tax if you're planning to consume it on the premises.

      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        They even ask- and charge- at the Starbucks located inside the Vons grocery store. For here means drinking inside the store while shopping, although there are tables and chairs. You pay tax if you intend to consume inside the store.

        Taxes are everywhere.

    2. This is very common all across Europe.

      5 Replies
      1. re: wienermobile

        Agreed; it's what I call the "butt tax". Sit down in any café in Western Europe and your price will be higher than if you stand at the bar for your coffee. On the other hand, once you've paid the butt tax you can occupy that seat for as long as you like; I bet Le Pain Quotidien wouldn't take kindly to that.

        I've also noticed that at LPQ in Midtown West, Manhattan.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          Western Europe is one thing. I ordered this, err, tartine, in LA. In addition to the butt tax, I had to pay a tip. I was expecting to pay a tip, but had I known about the butt tax I would have certainly taken it to go and spared my self the lousy service. Is this normal/ethical/legal in Los Angeles? I was, btw, charged tax too, so that's not the issue.

          1. re: ronla

            Well, the "butt tax" includes things like the HVAC, table, lighting, use of silverware, etc.

            Is it normal in LA? Probably not.
            Ethical? Sure.
            Legal? It certainly is not illegal.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              i always thought it was illegal to post a price for something and to charge a higher amount. kind of like a bait and switch, right?

              on the normal question, there are the costs associated with take-out that aren't
              accounted for - plastic containers, bags, plastic silverware, granted a lot less than the overhead of a brick and mortar in brentwood.

              on the ethical question, how would you like to be a server in a restaurant that put an additional premium on sitting down? I'd be upset.

              1. re: ronla

                When you sit down at LPQ you are given a menu with prices inclusive of the butt tax. I suspect the OP looked at the takeout prices, went to the host, sat, placed the order without looking at the butt tax-inclusive menu, and then got a nasty shock with the bill.

                Not good business practice in this country, but probably not illegal.

      2. If there is no printed indication (on the menu or elsewhere) that the prices are different at the bar and at the "tables", then I would argue for the lower prices.

        In Western Europe (because it's been cited before in this thread) the prices are written down and it's clearly stated that a coffee (for example) will cost X at the bat and Y at a table.

        If the higher prices are only "word-of-mouth" than it would be unethical and probably break some consummer laws.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Maximilien

          I'm wondering if the OP looked at a menu, assuming as I do that they have individual menus at the tables, or ordered from memory after looking at the board at the counter?