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Short Changed in NY?

I'm visiting from SF and enjoying many of the fine restaurants in your city. Today I had lunch at The Spotted Pig. The food was fine. At the end of the meal, I paid my bill in cash. When I received my change, I noticed that they didn't give me any small change (coins). In fact, they rounded the bill up so that I received less change than I should have.

It was less than a dollar, but I was intrigued (and needed that change to ensure a full 20% tip). I asked the server whether it was a mistake or the restaurant's policy. He said, 'We don't have change so we always round the bill up.'

Small change is not a big deal. That said, why not give this small change to the guest? After all it's the restaurant's responsibility to have change. I travel quite a bit, so I've eaten at restaurants in many different cities. I've had items comped or bills rounded down, but this was a first for me.

I wonder is this specific to The Spotted Pig or:

Is rounding the bill up a common practice in NY Restaurants?

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Spotted Pig
314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

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  1. I've never encountered it, but it definitely happens (note that this thread isn't about Manhattan):

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6696...

    I would be pretty ticked off. Money is money.

    3 Replies
    1. re: small h

      small h, Thanks for posting that discussion link -- interesting.

      I just wasn't expecting it. Granted, this is a pub, not some fine dining establishment, but I've had little mom and pop places graciously round down bills in such situations. I wonder if this crew also rounds up their guests bills at The Breslin?

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      The Breslin
      20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

      1. re: wanderlust21

        I usually pay with a credit card (and I must have when I went to The Spotted Pig), which would be a way to guard against this particular practice. Not that you should have to guard against it, 'cause it shouldn't be happening at all. I've read a number of posts about The Breslin and don't recall anyone mentioning this rounding up business.

        1. re: small h

          I can't say i'm terribly surprised that a restaurant wouldn't have change. I'd imagine a great majority of their business is done by credit card or even dollar cash tabs for drinks at the bar.

          Not sure if its ever happened to me or to be honest, if i'd care if it did happen. I'd probably think it was unusual and then promptly forget about it.

    2. I don't frequent NY restaurants so can't answer that question.

      But....I sure wouldn't worry about giving them the "full" 20% tip if they pulled something like this. They already got some of their tip in the change they didn't return to you.

      1 Reply
      1. re: 512window

        I'd be tempted to say, "Sorry, but that change was your tip."

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. you NEVER round up. "i'm sorry we have no singles, you're $11.23 tab will be charged at $15." Same difference. First rule of physics is for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. if a server EVER told me they do not give change, I do not give a tip. I know I know, not the server's fault...it is.

          1. Let me preface this by saying that i've been going to Manhattan restaurants for 40 years and have NEVER had a check rounded up. Ever.