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Apr 13, 2011 01:00 AM

Charged For Things In Restaurants That Other Restaurants Give You Gratis

Frequent one sushi place that is on the higher end of the price point and has excellent fish. They, however, as l eat a lot of unagi, always charge me extra for the house made eel sauce as l like more. Sauce is not great, so recently l have been BYOS, using mine and no issue. One deli charges if you want more than the normally delivered 1/2 pickle and so on. Any outrageous stories out there, l suspect there will be.

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  1. Three years ago, was in Boca Raton shopping with the wife and daughters. Wasn't bad enough what it cost for the shopping, but the kids insisted on lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.

    Both kids ordered Diet Cokes w/LEMON as their beverages. When the bill arrived, the server had keyed in a charge of 50 cents each lemon wedge.

    I was pissed, paid the bill, but have never agreed to return to Cheesecake Factory, no matter how much the kids beg.

    How to lose a customer by stupidity or greed. If a restaurant wants to charge for a garnish, then reveal it when ordered. I would have been more than happy to give them the lemon wedges served on the side of my cup of tea--which I don't use.

    57 Replies
    1. re: bagelman01

      Curious if you said anything about the charge to anyone? The waiter, the manager on your way out the door? Yes, you're only one voice amongst millions who go to the CF, but if enough voices speak up, they might realize that charging for a wedge of lemon is cheap and bad publicity for them.

      Or they might not. :-/

      1. re: LindaWhit

        Mentioned it ti the MOD when paying the bill at the cashier, the answer was that if you order anything extra you should expect to pay for it. They're entitlked to run their operation that way and I choose to spend my dollars elsewhere.

        1. re: bagelman01

          Totally agree, now that I know you mentioned it to the MOD. And as I said - with the millions who go to CF, they're obviously getting feet in the door who are either not seeing the charge or don't care. (more likely the former)

          1. re: bagelman01

            Oy Veh, I don't "do" Cheesecake Factory, but really? Charging for a lemon wedge or two? Does that mean if I go to the bar there and order a martini with an extra olive they're going to charge me for it? I don't even want to know the answer.

            1. re: mamachef

              I don't do Cheesecake Factory, but there are things parents do because their children ask <VBG>

              1. re: bagelman01

                I've got 3 kids and have responded in the affirmative to requests for things that made my toes curl. : ) We don't have one around here, so it's never come up. I don't know what <VBG> means. (?)

        2. re: bagelman01

          Wow, now THIS is something I've never heard of and, luckily, have never had happen to me. I'd be p...d too!! I don't eat there but I know they are always busy and this is still just too rude, no matter how busy they are.

          Good for you for speaking up. This is exactly the kind of thing I actually WOULD complain about!

          1. re: bagelman01

            I agree 100%. I have eaten at many restaurants up and down the U.S. East Coast and have never been charged for things like extra butter, coffee creamer or napkins. I consider these things to be included in their "overhead" - the reason it costs so much to eat out. (From reading below, I'm amazed how different things are in other countries!) If (American) restaurants are trying to cut back on costs by charging extra for such petty things they should tell you when you order!

            I ate at a Carabba's tonight, and noticed tables receiving glasses of water w/ lemon so when I ordered mine I told the waitress no lemon TWICE and it still came out with a lemon wedge! Maybe I should have asked her to take .50 cents off my bill!

            1. re: kittyangel

              Actually, I had this happen yesterday. The kids wanted to lunch at Red Robin while shopping at the mall. We ordered 3 waters, 1 coke 1 coffee black. Waters no lemon. Sure enough the coffee came with creamers and the waters with lemon. Had the waitress bring fresh water without lemon and told her to top the coffee off as I did not need romm for cream.

              The servers are so preprogrammed that they don't think, just do. This lack of regard for patron's requests should be reflected in their tip.

              That said, all the food was delivered exactly as ordered, no tomato, extra pcikle, ciabatta bread, not a roll, etc.

              1. re: bagelman01

                "That said, all the food was delivered exactly as ordered, no tomato, extra pcikle, ciabatta bread, not a roll, etc."

                well i hope that then should be reflected in a larger tip

                1. re: thew

                  Very recent restaurant experience: As we were leaving a restaurant we told the girls/women/seat-you people at the desk/greeters (what do you call the persons anymore as you come in?)

                  that the water was running in the restroom. One said, "I'm sorry." We said,, nothing to be sorry about, just thought you'd like to know that the water is being wasted and maybe it could be fixed.

                  She said, "I'm sorry."

                  Outside parked in the lot, there was a sticker on the back of a car that suggested if you could afford to eat out you could afford to tip 20%. We wondered if it was a restaurant workers's car. Damned glad that we tipped accordingly, because definitely the male waiter was probably the best part of the meal :-))

                  1. re: Rella

                    Rella, I still call the greeter/seat-you person the host or hostess even tho in some places the wait staff or managers do it.

                    1. re: Rella

                      Actually I've been going in the opposite direction.

                      After years of 20-25% I took a good hard look at the issue. The price of the same dish on the menu has gone up because of the cost to the restaurant. Some restaurants are passing some, but not all of the costs to the customer. But the servers are earing a higher amount of money while I am paying more for the same dish, and the owner is absorbing more of the increased costs.

                      I think it is only fair that my historical 20-25% gets reduced so the server does not make a winfall on the backs of me and the owner.

                      1. re: nobadfoodplz

                        a winfall is overstating it, don't you think? and just as your costs are going up, so are the servers. so their less than minimum wage job covers less and less for them.

                        1. re: nobadfoodplz

                          Pay the money.

                          The servers have gone without a raise long enough.

                          1. re: wayne keyser

                            Servers get a "raise" every time the restaurant raises its prices.

                            1. re: kmcarr

                              only in numbers...every time the cost of gas or milk or new shoes for their kids goes up, their raise goes right out the window.

                              1. re: kmcarr

                                except for people tipping less because the price goes up

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    as the price of gas or milk increase we all pay more, not just servers, while most people only receive a raise once a year, at best, the server receives one every time the price of the menu items go up plus their percentage to some should increase as well.

                                    1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                      this conversation could go round in circles for years....can we all agree that most servers aren't exactly well-paid, and to begrudge them a few pennies is pretty unkind, especially since a lot of them don't get benefits like the rest of us?

                                      (Let's assume that an average check at a restaurant is $50. If the restaurant raises their prices 5%, the new average ticket is now $52.50. 20% of the difference is a whopping 50 cents. If they turn 4 tables a night, they've made a whole $2.00, for which they've done a not-inconsiderable amount of work trying to actually *earn* that 20%...and you're going to stiff 'em for that?)

                                      And you're going to cut their tip because of that? If your personal finances are so tight that that extra 50 cents makes that big a difference to you, there are other issues at play.

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        I, for one, agree. As our costs go up, so do theirs, so I still tip the same. If I am satisfied with the service 20%, really happy more, and very unhappy less. I personally don't know why we have this system. I think restaurants (as all businesses) should try to recruit good employees, expect a good performance from them, and pay them what they're worth.

                                        1. re: sunshine842


                                          I am not stiffing or begrudging anyone. I am dealing with the cold hard facts that I am paying more, the restaurant is earning less, yet the server has a windfall, and it meets the exact definition of a "windfall." So 2 parties are suffering, albeit, slightly and one party benefits. And I also "actually earn" my hard earned dollars every day. Whether I can afford it or not is similar to asking if a corporation can afford to raise salaries now hat the economy is better. Yet unemployment stands at >8%. Everyone is earning less and paying more.

                                          1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                            Sorry, but your argument makes absolutely no sense. If the restaurant is raising prices, then it isn't "earning less." Prices fluctuate with inflation. So do your income and the server's expenses. There's no windfall there.

                                            On the other hand, if I tip servers based on what food cost in 1975, then I'm certainly getting a windfall. Sure, it makes me an asshole, but think of all the money I save.

                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                              Mr Alan

                                              yes it does.

                                              If the cost to the restaurant increase by 10% and they only pass on 8% then they are eating 2%. Me as the customer is paying 8% more. The server is receiving 20% times 8% more in tip. I am out the 8% cost plus the tip times the 8% and the owner is out 2%. The server is up the tip percentage times the 8% increased cost.

                                              1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                Your math skills need some work.

                                                If food costs go up 10% and the restaurant only passes on 8% of the cost to you, then you're coming out ahead. You're only paying 80% of the incremental cost, so you receive a windfall.

                                                The server, on the other hand, is taking it in the shorts. What do you think s/he eats at home? I'll give you a hint - FOOD. So the grocery bill goes up 10%, but tips only increase 8%, leaving the server with less inflation-adjusted money to eat on.

                                                And that's assuming that most customers aren't clueless tightwads who reduce their tips when restaurant prices go up.

                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                  Mr Alan, my math skills are fine. The increased costs to the restaurant include the overhead and other incidentals. I did not say food costs, i said costs. So no windfall to me.

                                                  And the server is not taking it in the shorts at all. In fact the server is the only one in this analysis who has a salary immediately tied to the cost of food increase. I bet you do not and I know I do not.

                                                  1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                    is there some reason you continue to try to justify short-tipping the person who's working at considerably less than minimum wage, with considerably less benefits than YOU have?

                                                    The person who has no control whatsoever over the cost of the menu, nor his/her pay at the end of the day, nor the rising cost of trying to put food on his/her own table, but is expending the same amount of effort to give you a decent experience, only to have you stiff them?

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      Ms Sun

                                                      I am not stiffing anyone, I am explaining that when you increase both numbers in a mathematical equation it is greater than only increasing one of those numbers. Tipping someone 15% is not, by any stretch, a stiff. All people on commission do not control their pay. Do you give money to the sales person at Macy's when you buy on the day after Christmas to compemsate their lower commission? The items are al 40% off and their pay just went down 40% for that day. Yet when you go to a restarant with a 40% off coupon everyone states you leave the tip on the full priced items. Why?

                                                      And everyone I know is facing rising costs trying to put food on the table, those on fixed incomes who do not have the benefit of making more money because the cost of food and hence their pay goes up.

                                                      I am just presenting a different point of view here

                                                    2. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                      Ive always believed that f it was too much of a hardship to tip correctly it should also be too much of a hardship for you to eat out, but Ive come to accept that some people are just cheap and don't care.

                                                      1. re: twyst

                                                        (and have never been on the other side of the table...)

                                                      2. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                        Mr. Bad Food,

                                                        Every restaurant manager knows that menu prices are directly tied to food costs. Overhead and other incidentals don't figure into the picture. As a matter of fact, commercial real estate rental rates have dropped in the past few years, while labor costs are steady or declining. It's food prices that are driving any menu increases.

                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                          Assuming that restaurants do not build their overhead into their cost structure tells me that you aren't all that familiar with how successful restaurants operate from a financial perspective.

                                                          It absolutely, positively is in the price structure. Rent and utilities might not be as volatile as food prices, but they do change, and they are accounted for by anyone with any level at all of understanding how to maintain a profitable business.

                                                          And you as a customer tip the proper percentage on the total bill at today's prices because that's just what you do. End of story.

                                                          Under your thinking we should all just pay whatever we want for anything...if we feel like paying the electricity bill using 1973 rates, well, that should just be okay, because you said so.

                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                            Perhaps I could have been clearer. Fixed overhead is certainly included in menu prices, but those prices are generally set as a multiplier of food costs. The general rule of thumb is that an entree should be priced at four times the cost of its ingredients.

                                                            While there are exceptions to this general rule, it shows that menu price fluctuations are tied to directly to food costs. Menu prices tend to go up only when the restaurateur has to pay more for ingredients.

                                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                                              sorry, alan, clicked the wrong reply. Wasn't aiming that one at you.

                                                            2. re: sunshine842

                                                              Ms Sun

                                                              Totally agree. And that is exactly what i do. I pay what i feel is the proper percentage. I just think that the percentage is different than you, and it appears others, do.

                                                              And the price I pay for electricity is set by the PUC of my state and I can decide, to a degree, how much I pay my switching electrical providers. And my limo company places a fuel surcharge on the bill in these times of $4 gas. But they do not increase the gratuity to the driver, they base that off the base rate, so there are examples of thoughtful owners not trying to create a windfall for the tip-based employees and are considerate of the customer.


                                                              1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                Some people must have a very different definition of "windfall" than I do.

                                                      3. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                        20% X 8% is an increase of jus over 1 and half percent. yes you are complaining about a 40 cent increase on a 25 dollar entree.

                                                        1. re: thew

                                                          Mr thew

                                                          20% of 8% is 1.6%, that is the correct math on the example. But if the server was fine with $5 tip which 20% of $25 on night 1 why is the server not just as happy with the $5 on the $27 entree the next night?

                                                          time to move on.

                                                          1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                            Extending your logic, if the server was fine with a $1 tip on a $5 entree in 1975, why would s/he not be just as happy with a $1 tip on a $25 entree in 2011? I'll tell you why - because tips are based on menu prices. Today's menu prices. Not yesterday's, not last year's, and not last century's.

                                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                                              And extending your logic I should only tip on the half-price special price? Or should I tip zero on the free dish in the BOGO price? How about Happy Hour drinks for $1, tip the bartender a quarter, bet he'd be glad with that 25%er? Or should I not tip at all on the compensated dishes? Or should I still tip if the manager removes an item because it was prepared badly by the kitchen?

                                                              You cannot logically take the position that the server deserves the highest percentage multiplied against the highest potential value that the check "could have been."

                                                              1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                Your argument has nothing to do with the point I made. But then again, your underlying premise makes no sense, either, so I suppose it should come as no surprise. I'm done here.

                                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                  Mr Alan,

                                                                  I was responding to your comment of the tip should not be based on yesterday's prices. If my scotch was $12 yesterday and is $3 at happy hour today, I tip on yesterday's price, the normal, not affected by spikes in oil prices or food prices, cost. But if I followed your do not pay by yesterday's but todays price, then i would base my tip on $3, not $12. So which is it?

                                                            2. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                              i said "just over 1 and half %," and you said "1.6 %." I'd say we are saying the same thing, no?

                                                    3. re: sunshine842

                                                      spot on! many diners talk a big game about money but never really do the extra step of figuring out how much it is that they are talking about.....50 cents for each table is based on the assumption of 20% tip...many cheapskates walk away with 10%, etc., so that number may be inflated

                                          2. re: nobadfoodplz

                                            Maybe I am just lazy, or maybe I can more easily afford it now, but I just keep things simple, and tip the same, as I have for decades - 15% minimum, unless the service is horrible *, 20% normal, and then more (often spread around to outstanding members of the service team), when the service is really good. I usually tip on the wines, plus the taxes, unless I happen to tip the sommelier separately, then the tip on the AMEX might reflect the food and taxes (even on the wine), and maybe not the total bill.


                                            * Not THAT long ago, we had absolutely horrible service at a resort restaurant. The server got 10%, but our busser, who was excellent, and so very helpful, found a US$ 20 in his hand. When things go OFF, I do try to reward the good people, even if they are on the lower end of the "food chain." Heck, maybe more IF they are on that lower end.

                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                              I'm pretty broke these days, and have been in the past. But whether I'm making $ or not, any place that I go out to the server usually get's 15-20% and sometimes more for exemplary service. So for me it's not tied to my finances, I include the tip in my budget.

                                              Servers aren't exactly living La Vida Loca, they're usually just trying to feed themselves and their family.

                                              And Bill, if you go out of your way to reward those who give good service, that's not lazy! I commend you.

                                              1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                cosmogrrl...La Vida Loca (The crazy life)...I think you meant La Dolce Vita (The sweet life)

                                            2. re: nobadfoodplz

                                              The costs of a dish increasing should be reflected in what the item costs on the menu. If an item costs more to make it should cost more for us to buy it, simple right?
                                              Inflation is reflected in all areas of the economy, if you get a raise do you begin to tip more at restaurants? Prob not, its all probably going to your increased cost of gas and other living expenses.

                                    2. re: bagelman01

                                      Hmm, I used to work at a brew pub back in the day and I recall lots of cheap patrons only ordering water but asking for extra lemons then they made their own lemonade with the packets of sugar. And they did not stop at one glass. I wish we could have charged for lemons.

                                      I have seen people do this in other places too. MAYBE, if lemonade was not served then this would be ok with a charge, but otherwise it's just cheap and poor manners.


                                      1. re: Dax

                                        Cup of hot water plus a packet of ketchup = tomato soup (by any of a number of derogatory names)

                                        1. re: Dax

                                          the only counterpoint i could make is for people who don't want or can't have sugar. i'm not saying it's right, but i imagine your pub didn't serve sugar-free lemonade. in that case, the classy way to deal with that, IMHO, is to say, "look, i can't have sugar, but charge me for a lemonade, and i'll take water with lemon and make my own sugar-free."

                                          just my ten cents...

                                          1. re: Emme

                                            Except Dax said they were using sugar packets, not the blue, yellow, or pink stuff.

                                            1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                              i guess i thought he didn't specify... oh well.

                                      2. Where I live, every sit-down, independently owned restaurant serves some sort of bread/roll/starch before the meal. The Mexican places do chips and salsa, the low end family restaurants/diners do the standard tea rolls, the higher end places do house made bread, get the picture.

                                        A new restaurant openned in town and the owner bucked the free bread trend. Many times, we were seated next to a table who asked "where is the bread?" When told bread would cost $5, you should have heard the bitching! Holy Cow, people would go crazy. I know he lost business far in excess of the cost a small piece of bread.

                                        21 Replies
                                        1. re: cleobeach

                                          I think Americans think that if it's on the table when they sit down, that it is free. This is not the case in other countries. In Italy restaurant tables are set with two bottles of water, one with gas, and one without, and you'll be charged if you open one. Then there's no charge for the bread or breadsticks on the table.

                                          In Portugal, it's common for a restaurant to put out a dish on the table, and you'll be charged for it if you eat it. The more gullible you look, the more expensive the dish. They are tasty dishes, but can be a painful surprise when the bill arrives.

                                          1. re: 512window

                                            What happens if no one eats it? Does this one plate of food end up getting passed from table to table over the course of the night? Ick.

                                            1. re: Lixer

                                              Where I have seen the charge-by-the-piece-rolls in Germany, yes, the basket sits there all day and all night. My mother wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole (total germ freak). My dad would make the waitress count them as soon as we sat down so we didn't accidentially get charged for rolls we didn't eat.

                                              1. re: cleobeach

                                                Does this really happen??? Seems like it would violate all kinds of sanitation laws (at least in America). (Altho I don't doubt some restaurants "recycle" unused roll's). And don't they get stale? Yuck! (Please excuse me, I think I have to go wash my hands/puke!)

                                                1. re: kittyangel

                                                  Kittyangel, Health department rules vary by locale. When I was in the food business in New Haven many years ago, the health department allowed restaurants to reserve uncut rolls in the bread baskets, but sliced bread had to be trashed. New Haven did not require a restaurant to provide clean plates for subsequent trips to a buffet line, but the health department in Hamden (adjoining town) did.

                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                    bagelman01, I can understand the rules being much more lax "many years ago". But in this day and age? You'd have no way of knowing if someone (perhaps with a contagious illness) had handled it, sneezed on it, dropped it on the floor, an insect crawled on it, etc.

                                                    Many years ago I worked in a resaurant for one month and it's a miracle I ever ate out again!

                                                    1. re: kittyangel

                                                      In Indonesia, there is a regional type of restaurant that puts out 20+ dishes once you sit down. Then you pick which dish you want to eat and you'll only be charged for what you eat (per plate or for things like chicken, how many pieces you eat). All the items that you don't eat will be taken away at the end of the meal and re-served to the next customer. It can be painful to not know how much you spend until the end of meal (unless of course you convert it to US dollars later ;) ).

                                                      1. re: chocomel

                                                        I only hope that the first diner knows this, and does not "play with the food."


                                            2. re: 512window

                                              In italy, the Coperto usually covers the bread charge.

                                                1. re: kittyangel

                                                  It's a cover charge. This describes it pretty well:
                                                  I saw it in France, too. Extra charges to sit at a table vs. standing up at the bar.

                                                  1. re: hsk

                                                    Sounds sort of like what I call "overhead". All the little extras we pay for (at least in America) to eat out.

                                                    1. re: hsk

                                                      It's not a cover charge in France-- there is one charge for standing at the bar, and it's overwhelmingly used just to grab a quick cup of coffee (go cups are still very much an exception here)

                                                      There's another charge for sitting at a table indoors, and another charge for sitting outdoors. It's a supply and demand thing for the most desirable real estate.

                                                      This usually applies only to cafes and bars-- nobody eats a full meal standing at the bar (once in a while a sandwich), so restaurants usually don't have a different price inside vs. outside.

                                                      ALL French food establishments are required by law to post their tarifs (charges) both outside and inside, so it's easy to know what you're in for before you ever even cross the threshold.

                                                2. re: 512window

                                                  I'm American, and I do think that if it's on the table, or if they bring it out unasked for, that it's free. Thanks for the info just in case I ever get the opportunity to travel to other countries!

                                                  1. re: kittyangel

                                                    I am of the same mindset, and that has translated from the US to the UK and parts of Europe.

                                                    Still, with my first trip to Rome, in a week, I am now armed, so as to not be surprised.

                                                    Thanks to the respondents in this thread.


                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                      Your first time in Rome??? How exciting! Have a super time, and hope you find plenty of great chow. (Eat artichokes, as many different ways as you can find them!)

                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                        We are looking forward to it, and the Italy Board has provided me with much more useful material, than I can use this trip. Ninety percent is business, and is totally structured, down to the minute, with little extra, or free time.

                                                        However, we were supposed to be doing an additional two weeks, for our 40th, but that had to be pushed back, until at least October. THEN, I will use much of that great info.

                                                        Still, I am reading, and learning - big thanks to all, who have responded here, and especially about Rome and Italy.

                                                        Hoping for that super time, and am just "along for the ride." I have no preconceptions, and nothing that I have to eat, see or do - just have fun.



                                                    2. re: kittyangel

                                                      I'm American, and I do think that if it's on the table, or if they bring it out unasked for, that it's free.
                                                      even here in America, don't assume - particularly with water. some sneaky places will bring bottled unless you *request* tap...and then they ding you for it on the bill.

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        I didn't express myself clearly. I mean things like butter, creamer, rolls/bread, extra napkins, a pickel, a glass of water. I would expect to be charged for bottled water, and if it was brought unasked for, I would ask about it.

                                                        1. re: kittyangel

                                                          Ask for a glass and go to the bathroom sink.

                                                      2. re: kittyangel

                                                        Not necessarily. In a lot of American Italian Restaurants, if a sealed bottle of water is sitting on your table, you open it, you pay for it. However, any open food is yours for the taking. In America, businesses include it in the price but separate the tip. In other countries the tip is included and everything else is al la carte. In a way, some American Restaurants/Bars do the same with Bar Menus, but not all.

                                                  2. My friend got charged for a glass of water once, although she was also ordering food and not just going in for water.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: crazee

                                                      Same here. I never went back. I note now that the business, after a number of years, went bankrupt.

                                                    2. This recent example is the gold standard, as far as I'm concerned.


                                                      22 Replies
                                                      1. re: small h

                                                        The person who posted the blog on this is mistaken. This is a common charge in bars. You charge extra for drinks straight up, neat or on the rocks because you pour more alcohol. A grey goose and tonic would be 12.00 and get 1.5 ounces of liquor, while a grey goose on the rocks gets a 2 dollar upcharge, but you pour 2 ounces of vodka instead of an ounce and a half.

                                                        1. re: twyst

                                                          I believe the difference is that some bars have decided to program their cash registers to add the extra cost for the bigger shot by catagorizing it as 'rocks'. And when people see the xtra charge for ice they are thunking how ridiculous it is instead of thinking about the extra alcohol. If the bars get any flack over it they could simply find another way to tack on the extrq charge without making it appear as if they are charging extra for ice.

                                                          1. re: twyst

                                                            Since I posted that link, I have learned that charging different prices for a drink with ice vs. one without is not unheard of. But I still don't understand it. Wouldn't it make more sense to just use a standard pour for every drink, keeping the amount of alcohol consistent?

                                                            And you write "You charge extra for drinks straight up, neat or on the rocks because you pour more alcohol," which means there's an extra charge for every drink. With ice? Extra charge. Without ice? Extra charge. So what kind of drink would *not* incur this extra charge?

                                                            1. re: small h

                                                              Gin & tonic? XXX & soda? YYY & tonic? ZZZ & coke, whatever?

                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                I think of gin & tonic as a rocks drink: a shot of gin, a couple of ice cubes, and enough tonic to fill the glass. Am I just using incorrect terminology? If I skip the tonic and just order a shot of gin and a couple of ice cubes, would that mean a higher price for that drink?

                                                                1. re: small h

                                                                  I don't know, but from what twyst said I wouldn't be surprised. Somehow I envision the barkeep adding more gin in so as to not present you with a largely empty glass (otherwise filled w/ ice), unless you were insistent that he pour out exactly one shot, just as he would for a G&T? I must say that in various bars I used to go to the bartender might splash in just a wee bit more liquor sometimes (if they had discretion to do so) but can't say I ever took careful note of precisely how much they poured in. Rum & Coke, other similar drinks, I am guessing the same thing applies.

                                                                  You said "...which means there's an extra charge for every drink. With ice? Extra charge. Without ice? Extra charge. So what kind of drink would *not* incur this extra charge?".
                                                                  I opined that stuff like G&Ts and R&Cs would fit the bill of a kind of drink that answered your question.

                                                                  p.s. Lots of people drink liquor in a condition other than straight up, neat, or on the rocks, as you seem to imply are the only ways to drink liquor.

                                                                  @twyst: can you comment please?

                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                    I don't draw a distinction between a mixed drink (with ice) and a single ingredient drink (with ice), but maybe you and twyst do. That's why I was - and am - confused. To my mind, each contains the same amount of alcohol, as does an iceless shot.

                                                                    You've seen bartenders give you a little extra for a single ingredient drink with ice (as have I), but do you think you then charged more than you would have been had you ordered just a plain shot? Because that's never happened to me, I don't think.

                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                      This is exactly correct. You are given extra liquor in a "rocks drink" to make up for the lack of volume in the glass because you aren't using a mixer. If you pour the standard shot into a normal glass the glass looks less than half full, and people usually complain about that.

                                                                      just to be clear, the term "on the rocks" generally means no mixer (coke/OJ/tonic etc) at all

                                                                      When it comes to the amount of liquor per $ spent, the upcharge is actually significantly more bang for your buck.

                                                                      Huiry "p.s. Lots of people drink liquor in a condition other than straight up, neat, or on the rocks, as you seem to imply are the only ways to drink liquor."

                                                                      yes, they do, but those three ways of drinking it are really the only common ways of drinking that require you to pour more than a standard shot, hence the upcharge for those three.

                                                                      Small h-
                                                                      yes, you would probably be charged more if you ordered it that way at a nice rest. or bar, but you would also probably get about 25% more liquor poured into your glass.

                                                                      Some places will have very small glasses used just for drinks "on the rocks", and they usually don't upcharge, but they also pour the same amount of liquor as they pour into a mixed drink.

                                                                      1. re: twyst

                                                                        I thought establishments were required by law to measure each shot. (Not that they all do - but I thought it was a law.) Many places even have pour spouts screwed on the to bottle that does this automatically. Whether getting a shot, a double shot, or a mixed drink with one or more different liquors in it, I thought each was a measered shot. In my experience, if the bartender likes you, they may pour a little extra, but I've never heard of being charged for it.

                                                                        1. re: kittyangel

                                                                          That may be a local law in some areas, but its not widespread. There are even some areas where bars have to sell the little bottles like you get on airlines as they are not allowed to sell part of a bottle.

                                                                          While I was a student in new orleans, I bartended at a couple of high end restaurants owned by the Brennan family, and we were instructed to never use a jigger (what you measure shots in) behind their bars as it gives the appearance that you are being stingy to the guest.

                                                                          1. re: twyst

                                                                            twyst, that reminds me of when I first visited Myrtle Beach, SC, the bars sold all drinks using the little bottles, but I believe the last time I was there, several years ago, that law had changed.

                                                                            They also wouldn't prepare burgers medium rare like I like them. Don't know if that changed or not.

                                                                        2. re: twyst

                                                                          Thanks. That's a nice, thorough explanation. And you made me remember the tiny rocks glasses at a bar I used to frequent long ago.

                                                                  2. re: small h

                                                                    Though one seldom asks for "ice in their wines," that "standard pour" is becoming much more common, when one is ordering a B-T-G selection. More bars and restaurants are using the mini-carafes, and filling to the same general spot. I really, really like this, as it does two things for me: I request larger bowl glasses in most instances, and it's not to get a larger pour, but to enjoy my wine at its best, and with the mini-carafe, I can pour a little, and then top it up, as I desire, leaving more room to swirl, etc.

                                                                    It is more dishwashing and breaking for the restaurant, but evens out the pours.

                                                                    There used to be too many people here, and elsewhere, who demanded that the B-T-G wine glasses be filled to the rim. To them, a "glass of wine" meant the bowl should be overflowing. No, not really.

                                                                    Now, I have to add that I so seldom drink anything but wine, so the discussion on spirits is giving me some things to think about.


                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                      Your point (and I agree with it) is similar to one that twist made in another post - people see the glass, whether it contains wine or liquor, as half empty. Presenting a standard pour and allowing the customer to customize it makes her feel empowered and un-cheated. I never thought I'd be coming out in favor of handing out airplane bottles alongside glasses of ice (as was done in Utah the last time I was there), but it's starting to make sense to me.

                                                                      1. re: small h

                                                                        Well, for me the wine_snob, it's what's IN those airline bottles that counts... [Grin]


                                                                      2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                        in Europe, liquors are sold by the measure -- you order a carafe of house wine in 25cl (about 8 oz) or 50cl (about 16 oz) comes in a carafe, and you pour as you like.

                                                                        It's a wonderful thing.

                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                          In Paris, I have not seen this, but then am usually ordering a bottle.

                                                                          I will be prepared in Rome, thanks to your post.



                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                            (obviously single glasses are available, too -- but the 50 is usually perfect for 2 to share with dinner)

                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                              This might be getting off-topic for the thread, but Rome offered a few surprises for me. Now, this ONLY applies to the places, where we dined/drank, but the B-T-G selections were very, very limited. Most were either "red," or "white" and I had to ask to see the bottles to decide. However, then B-T-B prices seemed fair, and their costs reflected the "level" of the restaurants.

                                                                              Also, when doing B-T-G, there were many "munchies" presented and eaten, with no additional charges! I felt a bit overwhelmed by some of these, such as a rather large serving of smoked salmon in one case. I tipped extra.

                                                                              Also, tipping seems to be "in cash" only, as no restaurant, or bar, offered the opportunity to tip. I went through Euros more quickly, than anticipated. I could not even offer the credit card for a separate bill for the tip. This was evident in low-end places, as well as at the very high end restaurants. Just a surprise to me, and luckily the exchange rates did come down, enough to cover the monetary exchange that I needed.

                                                                              There were some small bottles, that proved to be fun - the 0.1875's, and some interesting 0.375's. Still, we mostly did bottles, or a few B-T-G selections.


                                                                          2. re: sunshine842

                                                                            you can do that at pretty much any restaurant in montreal too

                                                                      3. re: twyst

                                                                        Now that is a perspective that I had not considered.

                                                                        Thanks for giving us food for thought.


                                                                    2. Two examples. 1. Satellite Restaurant in Clarkson. Ordered a burger. got one diameter sliced piece of pickle. Asked for extra but hold the lettuce and onion and was told that each subsequent slice was 25cents. I complained and was told if they didn't charge then EVERYONE would want more pickles and they would go out of business.

                                                                      2. Recent trip to China they put a small dish of peanuts on the table in most restaurants. Doesn't matter if you eat them - you still get charged. They were tasty so you ate them.