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Charged For Things In Restaurants That Other Restaurants Give You Gratis

Delucacheesemonger Apr 13, 2011 01:00 AM

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.

  1. ChuckRocks Aug 29, 2011 01:34 PM

    I've see too many fancy places loosing their customers this way.
    Y'all come down to Black Hammock for some gator and crawdad etouffee.
    They'll treat you right.

    No stars on their rating but you can watch the stars come out at night while you listen to the song of the swamp critters.

    1. Thanks4Food Aug 18, 2011 10:24 AM

      So glad to find this thread so I can vent about a policy at Jason's Deli that drives me crazy. I can't remember exact pricing since I haven't been in a long time, but let's say the average sandwich costs $7.00 and it will come with meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and who-knows-what (pesto sauce, bacon)--with chips and pickle on the side. I want a sandwich with nothing but roast beef, Swiss cheese, and mayo. That's a "Build your own" that starts at maybe $6.00--but then you have to pay an extra $.75-1.00 for the cheese. AND the chips and pickle are an extra $1.50!

      So for ordering less than the typical offering, I end up having to pay more. I love their roast beef, but I won't do it any more just on principle.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Thanks4Food
        BobB Aug 18, 2011 10:42 AM

        You can't just order the standard sandwich and say "hold the xyz"? That is truly bizarre, unless they're pre-made, in which case it makes perfect sense.

        1. re: BobB
          Thanks4Food Aug 18, 2011 11:00 AM

          No, they make everything fresh right in front of you.

          Here's their menu: http://www.jasonsdeli.com/files/pdf/m.... The "build your own" doesn't mention the price of cheese, but I just called a local Jason's to ask and was told $.59. So if I get a whole roast beef sandwich plus Swiss cheese, that's $6.60, and adding the chips and pickle brings it to $8.20.

          Now compare that with the California Club: "Toasted croissant with turkey breast, bacon,
          Swiss, tomato, sprouts, mayo, guacamole. Served with fresh fruit, steamed veggies or baked chips and pickle. 6.79." The most expensive specialty sandwich is the New York Yankee: hot corned beef and pastrami and Swiss cheese with mustard or mayo on rye--with chips and pickle--for $7.79.

          How does this make sense?

          1. re: Thanks4Food
            BobB Aug 18, 2011 12:50 PM

            It makes sense from one perspective. If you assume that the standard sandwich is the made-to-order one, then you can spend anywhere from $6 - $9 for a complete package. But if you want one of their specials (and they do call them specials, not standards), you get a special deal, which amounts to a whopping $1 or so off the standard price.

            I'm fairly sure you could order a "California Club, hold the guacamole" and still get it for $6.79. But it looks like there is no "special" sandwich based on roast beef that you can ask them to leave things off of, so you're out of luck there.

            It's a bit odd but not crazy.

            1. re: BobB
              Thanks4Food Aug 18, 2011 01:29 PM

              I don't follow you at all. As I wrote previously, everything is made fresh in front of you; nothing is prepared ahead of time. Whether it's plain meat and cheese or a California Club, someone's making it when you order it.

              And you're misunderstanding "Specialty Sandwiches": that is not the same as a "Special of the Day" where you usually get a discount.

              1. re: Thanks4Food
                pamf Aug 18, 2011 03:45 PM

                I have never been to a Jason's Deli, but I would guess that the reason that there are no "Specialty Sandwiches" that are offered with it, is because it is a more expensive ingredient.

                So if you want the premium ingredient (and you said it was very good) then you pay the extra $1 and change and enjoy your sandwich. :)

                1. re: pamf
                  Thanks4Food Aug 18, 2011 08:32 PM

                  Pamf I have no idea what you're talking about. There ARE specialty sandwiches. The point I am vainly trying to make is that it costs more to order a regular old meat and cheese sandwich than it does to order one with multiple meats, cheese, and all sorts of other ingredients. The roast beef is not considered a premium ingredient.

                2. re: Thanks4Food
                  BobB Aug 19, 2011 07:07 AM

                  It's simple - they offer a slight discount on certain "specialty" sandwiches. Why? Who cares? Maybe they buy more of those ingredients so they cost them less. Maybe they're really proud of them and want more people to try them so word will get around what great sandwiches they make. Maybe the owner just thinks it's a cool idea. Whatever, it's their prerogative and not worth getting all bent out of shape over.

                  The only thing that matters is, is the sandwich you're getting (your choice, made to order) worth what you pay for it? If so, buy it and eat it in good health. If not, go elsewhere.

              2. re: Thanks4Food
                Jen76 Aug 18, 2011 07:33 PM

                The menu says it's served with chips and pickle. You only get charged ($1.59) if you want fresh fruit instead of chips and pickle.

                1. re: Jen76
                  Thanks4Food Aug 18, 2011 08:36 PM

                  Thanks for that--I did read it wrong. The chips and pickle are not really an issue to me as the main point of having to pay extra for cheese when it's included in all the other sandwiches they make.

                  Kinda like the fact that you can get a double cheeseburger at McDonald's for $1 (not that I want one), but then they can't even put a full slice of cheese on the Filet O' Fish which costs 3 times as much.

                  1. re: Thanks4Food
                    John E. Aug 18, 2011 10:00 PM

                    I wonder if Scott Conant orders his Filet O' Fish without the cheese?

                    1. re: Thanks4Food
                      Jen76 Aug 19, 2011 06:22 AM

                      Well, if you look again, a whole build-your-own sandwich is $6. With cheese, that makes it $6.59 which is the same or less than most of the other "pre-designed" sandwiches.

            2. Delucacheesemonger Jun 28, 2011 06:30 PM

              Hit a new one last night. Friend ordered a martini with two olives, yup $ 1.50 for the extra olive.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                sunshine842 Jun 28, 2011 11:22 PM

                ZOMG. That'd be last $1.50 they'd ever get from me!

              2. 2
                2roadsdiverge Jun 22, 2011 10:12 PM

                At a typical chain steakhouse the other day (Roadhouse? Longbranch? Something like that) my dining companion chose a baked potato as her side item. The server asked "Butter and sour cream?" and she replied "That's fine". When we received the bill there was a 60 cent charge for sour cream.

                Now 60 cents isn't a big deal, but our assumption was that the server was asking if we wanted the standard items. Had she mentioned cheese, bacon, or anything else, we would have expected there to be a charge.

                I remember when I was much younger I went on one of my first business trips along with an older woman. We were on per diem, not an expense account, so the cheaper we ate the more we got to keep. I remember being mortified once at a steak place when she was asked what she wanted on her baked potato and she responded with "Whatever is free." Now that I am older I don't feel so bad asking.

                2 Replies
                1. re: 2roadsdiverge
                  l
                  Lixer Jun 23, 2011 06:51 AM

                  My mom would say the same and as a teen it was very embarrassing. Now with all the sneaky and outrageous charges it really is the easiest way to solve that problem.

                  1. re: Lixer
                    Bill Hunt Jun 25, 2011 09:13 PM

                    Yes, we are now a society, that relishes FREE, and I am not sure that is a good thing, but understand the feeling.

                    Hunt

                2. kathleen221 Jun 19, 2011 08:42 PM

                  I'm new here, but have been lurking for a bit and finally decided to jump in. =)

                  My family and I were at a Subway a few weeks ago for sandwiches. My husband asked for extra spinach on his sandwich, and the employee refused, saying, "Spinach is not a lettuce substitute." She also refused to give my daughter extra pickles, and explained that they're only allowed to put X number of olives on a sandwich, and so on. Ridiculous, especially for a chain that bills itself as healthy.

                  That really got my goat, and if I'd had my wits about me, I would have told her that I wanted some spinach and pickles, but she could put it on their sandwiches instead of mine. Sheesh. We haven't been back to that location.

                  26 Replies
                  1. re: kathleen221
                    thew Jun 20, 2011 06:16 AM

                    it isn't ridiculous for an employee to follow the rules they are given, as far as they are concerned better you have one fewer pickle and they still have a job

                    1. re: thew
                      kathleen221 Jun 20, 2011 06:49 AM

                      Sure, she was just doing what her manager had told her, so I wasn't annoyed at the employee. What is ridiculous is the manager (or franchise owner) deciding to be stingy with vegetables at a place that bills itself as the healthy alternative to fast food.

                      1. re: kathleen221
                        thew Jun 20, 2011 08:56 AM

                        thinking adding pickles add healthfullness is probably wishful thinking

                        1. re: thew
                          kathleen221 Jun 20, 2011 09:21 AM

                          Last I checked spinach was pretty darn healthy, though I'm not sure I see your point (as it relates to the OPs question) in bring up the healthfulness of pickles... =)

                          1. re: kathleen221
                            BobB Jun 20, 2011 11:19 AM

                            Yeah, pickles are as dangerous as cell phones!

                            http://www.slate.com/id/2295964/

                            1. re: BobB
                              kathleen221 Jun 20, 2011 12:45 PM

                              Wait 'til you see the results of the study on pickled cell phones.

                              I'm going to go eat a kosher dill now.

                              1. re: BobB
                                Bill Hunt Jun 25, 2011 09:09 PM

                                Once, as a child, I was running with a large dill pickle. I tripped, and almost poked my eye out... [Grin]

                                Hunt

                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                  k
                                  kittyangel Jul 6, 2011 10:48 PM

                                  TeeHeeHee (VBG!)

                              2. re: kathleen221
                                thew Jun 20, 2011 12:31 PM

                                she said not getting more pickles and.or olives was "ridiculous, especially for a chain that bills itself as healthy."

                                1. re: thew
                                  Bill Hunt Jun 25, 2011 09:11 PM

                                  Are "pickles and olives" UNhealthy? I do not recall Michelle Obama's comments on these, but might have missed them.

                                  Are they even allowed in San Francisco? That might tell the tale. Where does Nancy Pelosi weigh in on this subject?

                                  Hunt

                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                    kathleen221 Jun 26, 2011 08:04 PM

                                    Well, considering you almost poked your eye out with a pickle, I would say they are not only unhealthy, but exceedingly dangerous, and should be outlawed.

                                    I don't really feel like doing research right now, but I'm pretty sure olives have some health benefits. And I've never met or heard of anyone getting fat off of condiment vegetables. =)

                                    1. re: kathleen221
                                      LindaWhit Jun 26, 2011 08:12 PM

                                      I don't really feel like doing research right now, but I'm pretty sure olives have some health benefits
                                      ~~~~~~~~

                                      They make you laugh when you use them for finger puppets. That's good for your health. ;-)

                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                        cosmogrrl Jun 27, 2011 12:14 AM

                                        I still do this, but only in private. Yes I am very in touch with my five year old self!

                                    2. re: Bill Hunt
                                      cosmogrrl Jul 15, 2011 07:42 PM

                                      Yep, still allowed in San Francisco. We may crazy but not THAT crazy... Now Berkeley on the other hand ;)

                            2. re: thew
                              Bill Hunt Jun 25, 2011 09:07 PM

                              I do agree, but when one wishes to pay for extras, even if there is not a button on the computer, there should be a way to accommodate the patron. Unfortunately, that does deviate from the training courses, and the manual, so it is not uncommon that a request, even with the offer to pay more, cannot be accommodated.

                              Way back, when the Ritz-Carlton chain had just won their first Maclomb Baldridge Award for Excellent Service, I had the opportunity to dine with the, then, CEO. I asked what allowed his organization to win that award, and he had two comments. The first has been mentioned in other threads, as it was something that I embraced, "I tell every employee that we are ladies and gentlemen, serving ladies and gentlemen." His second comment fits here, "I tell everyone that they are empowered to give every patron what they want, or need."

                              Whether it's a chain of fast-food restaurants, or high-end establishments, that "empowerment" aspect is very important. If there is not a "button" for it, but the patron wishes to pay extra for it, then find a way to accommodate them.

                              For me, just because restaurant A offers X, I do not expect restaurant B to offer X, as well. If I want it however, I am willing to pay for it.

                              Hunt

                            3. re: kathleen221
                              r
                              Rella Jun 20, 2011 06:29 AM

                              I guess another way around that is to order the spinach and pickles on the other sandwich, and then just pick them off at your table (with a fork, of course.)

                              Sometimes if I want more onions, I'll ask spouse to order onions on his sandwich (he doesn't order onions) and I'll take them when he sits down.

                              However, I'm not speaking of Subway, because we have not eaten there for 18 years.

                              1. re: kathleen221
                                Bill Hunt Jun 25, 2011 09:00 PM

                                When I am going "off script," I always preface it with "I want to pay for extra____." However, we have found some places, where they refuse to let us have it "our way." That makes an impression.

                                Hunt

                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                  sunshine842 Jun 26, 2011 01:43 AM

                                  I used to work for a company (not even remotely related to food) where the CEO's mantra was "we will not sit around and make up reasons why someone cannot buy something they need."

                                  (assuming, of course, that made it or it was close enough to our regular product offering that we could buy it....there are limits to everything!)

                                  I see so many companies who ignore this very simple concept.

                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                    Bill Hunt Jun 26, 2011 08:15 PM

                                    Sounds like a good mantra too.

                                    Too bad that more do not adhere to it.

                                    In other threads I recounted my wife wishing to order a dish from the tasting menu at a particular restaurant, and then the apps. that she could eat. She was refused, though I offered to pay whatever extra this would cost. The restaurant closed within a month.

                                    Hunt

                                2. re: kathleen221
                                  j
                                  JasFoodie Jul 8, 2011 11:42 AM

                                  Wow, just wow. If that happened at any of the subways I ate at, I'd have to stop going there. My regular meal there is one of the $5 footlongs with a request to really load it up on the veggies. I always ask for spinach, not lettuce, followed by whatever appeals to me from the rest of the selections. I find I have to ask for extra green peppers most of the time otherwise I get about 3 pieces, and the same goes with olives. They've also never balked at my request for an additional side of pickles since when I eat a sandwich it doesn't feel complete if I don't have a pickle on the side to munch on.

                                  I'd offer to invite you to visit the subway I eat at most often but that would be too cruel as I live in a town so small that Subway is considered one of the better eating establishments in town. I still don't know why I live here.

                                  1. re: JasFoodie
                                    kathleen221 Jul 9, 2011 02:41 PM

                                    Jas, I can relate to the small town bit! There are two Subway restaurants about equidistant from us. The one we usually go to is great, but the other one is stingy.

                                    My husband always gets spinach instead of lettuce, and they actually COUNT OUT exactly 6 leaves of lettuce for a 12" sandwich! It was the silliest thing I've ever seen, and a waste of the employee's time.

                                    I don't really get the point. There's really only so much you can stuff into a sandwich, and who goes to Subway with the intent of ripping them off by requesting excessive amounts of vegetables?

                                    Like I said, the one we usually go to has never resorted to such nonsense. They have "standard" amounts (like 3 tomato slices for a 6"), but it's for consistency, not a maximum limit.

                                    1. re: kathleen221
                                      j
                                      JasFoodie Jul 9, 2011 07:39 PM

                                      They COUNT out the spinach leaves? YIkes. Do they also count the slices of olives? I mean I can see about counting out the meat and the cheese, but really the veggies? Considering the number of people who decline all veggies you'd think that giving other people more would even out.

                                      There was one store when I lived in Philadelphia that I refused to go to even though it was the closest location to me. They were so incredibly stingy with the toppings that it wasn't worth it. And I hate to made comments like this for fear of coming out sounding racist, but considering I'm the same race as them, I may as well.. but I've found that stores owned/run by indians are the stingiest on toppings. Of course I've wondered if they're equally stingy to everyone across the board or if as a fellow indian I get crappy treatment. I've seen this in other places and it really makes me wonder what the heck the deal is.

                                      1. re: JasFoodie
                                        kathleen221 Jul 9, 2011 07:54 PM

                                        We don't get olives, but we do get jalapenos, and I think she counted those out as well. Either that, or she was just slowly putting them on one at a time. Really weird. It's funny now, but the look on my husband's face... I thought he was going to get behind the counter and make it himself.

                                        As for the whole race thing... I'm white so I'm not allowed to make those kinds of comments. =) I think in my case, though, the stingy location is in a slightly more out-of-the-way spot than our favorite location, so maybe they're trying to make up for not getting enough business.

                                        1. re: kathleen221
                                          a
                                          anne7134 Jul 12, 2011 11:50 AM

                                          I often wonder if this stinginess is a function of Subway franchise costs. If I recall correctly, Fast Food Nation claimed that Subway was one of the worst franchises to own because start-up costs were so high and they were forced to purchase supplies and ingredients at inflated prices from the Subway corporation. I'm not sure if that is still the case, but I just have always assumed that some stores were particularly conscious of vegetable use because their margins are so thin due to the way the franchise is set-up.

                                          1. re: anne7134
                                            k
                                            kpaxonite Jul 12, 2011 01:36 PM

                                            Every franchise I know has to buy supplies from the head corporation...with some googling

                                            "How Much Does It Cost?
                                            The estimated total investment to open a Subway franchise in the United States is between $101,000 and $285,000. This includes the complete investment in setting up a Subway franchise, and also operating expenses for the first three months. After opening, franchisees pay a royalty fee, which is 8% of their overall gross sales."

                                            Making it EXTREMELY cheap to own; which might explain why some locations are stingy...the owners are cheap.

                                            Also
                                            ". Entrepreneur Magazine has ranked the Subway franchise the number one U.S. franchise 13 out of the last 17 years."

                                            1. re: anne7134
                                              kathleen221 Jul 12, 2011 02:30 PM

                                              I dunno... I've been to a lot of Subways, and the stingy one was the exception rather than the rule.

                                  2. im_nomad Jun 12, 2011 01:26 PM

                                    Was at a restaurant yesterday with a friend who ordered the seafood chowder main. Now, maybe I haven't eaten in enough places but I've never seen anyone order chowder and not get bread, a biscuit or something with it, especially when the dish is listed as a main. Bread was requested and she was told that they don't serve bread at all there, just a house made cracker for a charge. Thought it a bit odd, but whatever.

                                    1. n
                                      nooyawka Jun 10, 2011 06:35 PM

                                      I went to Yama for the first time recently on Irving. I noticed their menu had printed that extra ginger, and I think also wasabi, would be an extra charge. It raised my eyebrow. But when I saw the relatively generous amount provided with the meal, I was okay with it.

                                      1. twyst May 12, 2011 02:50 PM

                                        So I think on a bill like this perhaps the club could have thrown in free water...

                                        YIKES

                                        can't believe they hit that guy up for a pellegrino after all that other stuff lol

                                         
                                        29 Replies
                                        1. re: twyst
                                          sunshine842 May 12, 2011 03:03 PM

                                          shoot, after all that, I figure the Heinies and the Bud shoulda been a gimme, too.

                                          (and the waiter gets a 29K tip. Cha ching, even if he has to pay out the busboy)

                                          1. re: sunshine842
                                            s
                                            soupkitten May 12, 2011 03:16 PM

                                            for a party of 80, my guess is that it's more than one server. still a nice night's haul though, you are correct.

                                          2. re: twyst
                                            s
                                            soupkitten May 12, 2011 03:04 PM

                                            aw c'mon. the san pel was $2 cheaper than the $10 bud lites. . . :)

                                            1. re: twyst
                                              s
                                              small h May 12, 2011 03:07 PM

                                              Am I reading this right? You can get a split of Red Bull?

                                              1. re: twyst
                                                r
                                                Rella May 12, 2011 03:07 PM

                                                I don't understand the "Tryst" at the top of the bill.

                                                Is the first item for 4 entres?

                                                Is it all drinks?

                                                1. re: Rella
                                                  s
                                                  soupkitten May 12, 2011 03:11 PM

                                                  4 bottles of champagne

                                                  1. re: Rella
                                                    twyst May 12, 2011 03:14 PM

                                                    Tryst is the name of the nightclub in the wynn hotel. Yes, its all drinks.

                                                    1. re: twyst
                                                      John E. May 12, 2011 06:25 PM

                                                      What I find impressive is that all that drinking occured before midnight. (Ok, at least whomever was paying stopped buying before midnight).

                                                      I suppose at this level of spending, throwing in any freebies is pretty much pointless since the effect on the bill would be miniscule.

                                                      1. re: John E.
                                                        sunshine842 May 13, 2011 02:15 AM

                                                        pointless, yes -- it's more of a principal.

                                                      2. re: twyst
                                                        huiray May 12, 2011 07:44 PM

                                                        What I find disturbing is the markup on those bottles - e.g. Veuve Clicquot yellow label 15L NV at $25,000.00 each?? Even the Dom Perignon 6L 1995 also at $25,000 seems "less bad" with a retail around $9000...

                                                    2. re: twyst
                                                      LindaWhit May 12, 2011 07:29 PM

                                                      A $30K tip. Holy crap. That made THOSE waiters' night! Even if it was 4 or 5 waitstaff - and they tipped out the bussers...

                                                      1. re: twyst
                                                        alanbarnes May 12, 2011 08:08 PM

                                                        Okay, I'm having fun with this one...

                                                        A 750ml bottle contains 15 "standard" 50ml drinks. But a bottle of Grey Goose costs $475 - $31.66 per drink - while individual pours are $14.

                                                        Speaking of Grey Goose, they were apparently drinking it with Red Bull. There's an argument that that's all Grey Goose is good for, but still...

                                                        The DP 1996 "Luminous" is the same price as the 2000.

                                                        And they can't even spell Veuve correctly. Seriously, for $25k couldn't somebody wander over and look at the bottle?

                                                        I'd really have liked to have seen the crowd at this party. Or not.

                                                        1. re: alanbarnes
                                                          r
                                                          Rella May 12, 2011 08:20 PM

                                                          Geez, surely these numbers must be in Italian lire ....??
                                                          I think something is screwy here :-))

                                                          1. re: Rella
                                                            huiray May 12, 2011 08:24 PM

                                                            Well, it was at Tryst at the Winn in Las Vegas. Unless there is also an exactly named place and hotel and city in Italy, I somehow doubt the numbers were in lire. ;-)

                                                            Besides, if there were, wouldn't it be in euros, which would make it worse? :D

                                                          2. re: alanbarnes
                                                            huiray May 13, 2011 06:28 AM

                                                            "I'd really have liked to have seen the crowd at this party."
                                                            -----------
                                                            @alan, have a look at my post below: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7782...

                                                            :-)

                                                          3. re: twyst
                                                            n
                                                            nobadfoodplz May 12, 2011 08:16 PM

                                                            Interesting that my comments on tipping on another thread became La Target du Jour, yet noone has criticized a $5,000 tip on a bottle.

                                                            So let me be the first, that is just f'ing outrageous. How dare they think that is reasonable or acceptable.

                                                            1. re: nobadfoodplz
                                                              twyst May 13, 2011 04:42 AM

                                                              Have you ever had bottle service in a high end nightclub? You are given fantastic service and tipping 20% is standard. Im sure the customer knew what he was getting into before he went there, and if he thought outrageous he wouldn't have gone. For someone who spends $200,000 in a nightclub a $30,000 tip is no big deal.

                                                              This isnt a restaurant, 20% on bottle service is S.O.P. in a nightclub. People who dont want to pay it just wait at the bar with everyone else.

                                                              1. re: twyst
                                                                n
                                                                nobadfoodplz May 13, 2011 05:20 AM

                                                                Twyst

                                                                I agree that the customer probably knew what he was getting into, but I have a different opinion and viewpoint. And going to the website for the nightclub above, and looking at the posted pictures, it looks like a perpetual Spring Break with kids trying to act like adults and adults trying to act like kids, I hope that is not the new definition of "high end nightclub."

                                                                At any level of prices, I do not agree by any stretch of the imagination that $5,000 to pour a bottle of bubbly is acceptable. I have seen some wild things in my life that I did not agree with that were considered "standard." I prefer to use reasonable and thoughtful versus standard as my guide to my life path and there are many examples that "standard" were not proper, but that is not for this topic. There are many discussions that I have seen where customers and restaurants use "standard" as their rationale for unacceptable bevavior. But "boys will be boys."

                                                                And I believe a tip is not an automatic, it has discretion. But that too is the subject of other descussions

                                                                1. re: nobadfoodplz
                                                                  twyst May 13, 2011 05:26 AM

                                                                  Haha, haven't nightclubs always been perpetual spring break with young people acting like adults and old people acting like kids?

                                                                  1. re: nobadfoodplz
                                                                    BobB May 13, 2011 05:35 AM

                                                                    nobad, I don't know how much time you've spent in Las Vegas (I hate the place, but am forced to spend a week there every year for business) but it has its own ethos (if you can call it that) and the Wynn is a veritable temple to conspicuous consumption. Outrageous prices are charged for everything, and the general attitude seems to be, "If you can't afford it you shouldn't be here." They have their own golf course - on the premises, in the city, in the desert - and reportedly charge their own guests $500 to play it.

                                                                    Unfortunately there is a certain group of people who feel compelled to prove their manhood by indulging there, and they know if they don't tip sufficiently they won't be welcomed back (not barred at the door, just not treated like the VIPs they wanna be). So they go along with it. Another group that goes for this are high-rolling businesspeople who think it impresses their clients to splurge like that (and it may well do so).

                                                                    So my guess is that a bar tab like this represents either an exec trying to close a multi-million dollar deal or a group of wannabes with more money than taste.

                                                                    1. re: BobB
                                                                      n
                                                                      nobadfoodplz May 13, 2011 05:45 AM

                                                                      BobB

                                                                      Thank you for taking the time to express exactly my point. I too do not like Las Vegas either after spending 50+ trips with Asian businessmen in the 80's. Only 3 trips in the last 10 years.

                                                                      And what you described is completely accurate, you take the universe and subdivide and you have a subset called LV, then you subdivide more and you get Wynn, then you subdivide more and you get this place and then you subdivide more and you get people who buy these bottles. The smal sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-section should not be the "standard" for the rest of society.

                                                                      I can only imagine a cartoon with the ten of them at the ATMs, each trying to remove $20,000 from their checking account screaming, "what do you mean $20,000 is over the daily limit!!"

                                                                      1. re: nobadfoodplz
                                                                        twyst May 13, 2011 06:00 AM

                                                                        "The smal sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-section should not be the "standard" for the rest of society."

                                                                        The rest of society is never going to have a $200,000 bar tab

                                                                        The average guy might one day splurge and have a $500 tab at a place like this one day, and a $100 tip would be in order. That's the beauty of percentages. Do you think $100 tip on a $500 ticket is outrageous?

                                                                        1. re: twyst
                                                                          n
                                                                          nobadfoodplz May 13, 2011 06:16 AM

                                                                          Twyst

                                                                          I think $100 on a $500 bottle of wine has one foot over the line but I could live with it. $100 gratuity on a $500 dinner bill is a weekly event for me and a couple of couples for Saturday night dinner.

                                                                          Sorry for both answers but I did not know your definition of "ticket."

                                                                          1. re: nobadfoodplz
                                                                            twyst May 13, 2011 06:31 AM

                                                                            At the end of the day, I just think it's capitalism at work. The few times Ive ever booked a table at a trendy nightclub (bachelor parties mostly) I was informed on the phone while making the reservation that we were required to have bottle service and gratuity would be added to the check. There is a tremendous demand for these tables and there is usually a waiting list to get them so I dont blame establishments for making every penny they can. There is usually a line out the door with people waiting to pay these ridiculous prices.

                                                                            The act of adding gratuity automatically on the tables serves two purposes. It ensures that the establishment is able to hire the best employees and that the employees will work their butt off to keep their job, and people who balk at the idea of tipping 20% for service are less likely to spend obscene amounts of money frivolously.

                                                                        2. re: nobadfoodplz
                                                                          BobB May 13, 2011 12:22 PM

                                                                          That reminds me of the first time I used an ATM there. I asked to withdraw $100 - and the machine spit out a single $100 bill! Only in Vegas...

                                                                        3. re: BobB
                                                                          Bill Hunt Jun 18, 2011 09:45 PM

                                                                          BobB,

                                                                          The closing of a business deal could well explain it. Not THAT long ago, Petrus in London hosted a celebration from a certain business banking group. To celebrate the closing of a multi-billion £ deal, the group ordered just short of 1M £ in wine for lunch, including tip. They caught heck for having done so.

                                                                          Now, when I am hosting, and my donors have just pledged US $ 10M, I would never be so ostentatious, but then we are talking M's, and not B's, so what do I know? Also, I would never want such a donor to think that much of their gracious contribution went to a celebration for such a contribution! That would be in very bad taste.

                                                                          Still, there are international circles, where the display of such ostentation would be welcomed, and not frowned upon. I just do not travel in such circles.

                                                                          Hunt

                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                            cosmogrrl Jun 25, 2011 08:02 PM

                                                                            Wow. Just wow. One million pounds for wine. My brain can't even begin to process that.

                                                                            1. re: cosmogrrl
                                                                              Bill Hunt Jun 25, 2011 08:58 PM

                                                                              My head spins too. While I would love to indulge, I highly doubt that I will, unless Ihit the Powerball for a BIG payoff.

                                                                              Still, I can enjoy my life, such that it is, and that is not bad. [Grin]

                                                                              Hunt

                                                                  2. re: twyst
                                                                    u
                                                                    uwsister May 15, 2011 08:53 AM

                                                                    Geesh. There's an awful lot of judgmental attitudes here.

                                                                  3. GraydonCarter Apr 25, 2011 12:07 PM

                                                                    > Frequent one sushi place that is on the higher end of the price point and has excellent fish

                                                                    The OP says it was a higher-end establishment. This reminds me of the problem with high-end hotels. It seems the more you pay for a hotel, the less you get for free. Everything you ask for is delivered with excellent service, in high quality, and is extra. I can pay $100 per night at a Homewood Suites and get a free (mediocre) breakfast, but at a $250/night Hyatt the breakfast is extra, and excellent.

                                                                    Recently I stayed at a high-end hotel and on my way out I stopped in the lobby for coffee. Many hotels serve free coffee in the lobby for guests on the run, but I couldn't find the coffee table. So I stopped at the cafe and asked if there was coffee and she asked "cream or sugar" and when she came back she said, that's be $3.50 please.

                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                    1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                      srsone Apr 25, 2011 12:17 PM

                                                                      and i have stayed at a best western for about 70 bucks a night..
                                                                      they had a free continental breakfast...make your own waffles,scrambled eggs,bacon,sausage,
                                                                      three or 4 cereals with milk...fresh fruits..3 kinds of coffee and 3 kinds of juice..bread and bagels...
                                                                      all free

                                                                      1. re: srsone
                                                                        Bill Hunt Apr 26, 2011 06:27 PM

                                                                        Friends stayed at similar here in town. They had a limited, but nice little breakfast in the little dining area, with all-day coffee. Not sure what they paid, but it was convenient to them.

                                                                        Hunt

                                                                        1. re: srsone
                                                                          John E. Apr 27, 2011 11:20 AM

                                                                          Nearly all of the budget-type motels at which I have stayed now offer that type of breakfast for their guests. They have to for competitive reasons. I spoke with the owner of one of those motels once and got the distinct impression that if he could go back in time he would strangle the  motel operator that first offered the free breakfast with the waffles, etc

                                                                          1. re: srsone
                                                                            l
                                                                            LauraGrace May 13, 2011 10:45 AM

                                                                            In my road-tripping experience (a thing of the past, alas, with gas prices being what they are), I've stayed in many a $100-a-night and under hotel with a free breakfast, and I can tell you that the quality of said breakfast depends almost entirely on the management, not on the price of the room. I've stayed in ultra-cheap establishments ($35 or $40 a night) with the most beautiful, nutritious breakfasts -- boiled eggs, multi-grain toast, fresh fruit, yogurt with honey and granola, big pitchers of milk and juice, all sorts of nice things -- and pricier places with grim, swamp-water coffee and everything straight off the back of the Sysco truck.

                                                                          2. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                            thew Apr 25, 2011 01:22 PM

                                                                            you asked for coffee in a cafe - a place that sells coffee - surely being charged cannot be a surprise, can it?

                                                                            1. re: thew
                                                                              GraydonCarter Apr 25, 2011 02:47 PM

                                                                              And the $3.50 shouldn't have been a surprise, either.

                                                                               
                                                                            2. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                              r
                                                                              Rella Apr 25, 2011 02:19 PM

                                                                              I noticed at a high-end hotel a year or so ago, the hotel cafe did provide coffee for their guests, as well as providing coffee for the paying public.

                                                                              I don't know how I stumbled onto the difference, whether there was a get-your-own-coffee station or what, but it was NOT obvious that guests were accomodated at that hotel cafe with free morning coffee. Good luck next time.

                                                                              1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                                Bill Hunt Apr 26, 2011 06:26 PM

                                                                                My experiences have been almost the opposite. The higher-end the hotel, the more that seems to be included. This could be the Executive Lounge with free wine, breakfast and tea sandwiches at 3:00PM, to Port and cheeses in the evening, or unlimited coffee, done 8 ways.

                                                                                My supposition is that it just might differ, inn to inn.

                                                                                Now, when dining at a restaurant, or coffee shop on property, I would have expected to pay, unless I was in the Lounge.

                                                                                Just got back from a trip to DC. Every evening the lobby had free wines, and light snacks in the lobby. In the AM, they had coffee and light pastries. I do have to admit, that after one evening, I went into the bar for better wines, and paid for those. [Grin]

                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                                  t
                                                                                  tastesgoodwhatisit May 13, 2011 12:52 PM

                                                                                  I've definitely noticed that. I've stayed in budget hostels that had internet (including an available computer) and breakfast included, and business hotels that charged $10 per internet connection (ie, $20 if we both wanted to use our laptops) and $10 for coffee and a muffin.

                                                                                  I think it's partly because they're clientele includes a lot of business travellers who are getting reimbursed and don't pay for it out of pocket, and partly because at lower end places things like breakfast and the ability to check your email will be big draws for the budget traveller.

                                                                                  1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                                                                                    Bill Hunt Jun 18, 2011 09:28 PM

                                                                                    Ah, the hotel "lounges." Some are great. Some not so, and then there are others. Just stayed at one up-scale chain, and wife had joined their "upper-tier" status group. Went to the lounge, ready to pay the additional price, and was told, "unless you stay at three of our properties, on three different continents in a three month time span, you cannot come in, regardless of how much you pay." OK, that little statement just cost them about 18 stays, plus dining, in the next 12 mos.Rough guess would be that they lost over US $ 10K, with one statement. So be it. Obviously, the US economy is not hurting all in the hospitality industry, as some are quick to turn away frequent stayers?

                                                                                    Too bad too, as the restaurant at this particular inn was quite good, and our bill there for four days was about US $ 1K.

                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                2. t
                                                                                  trvlcrzy Apr 23, 2011 10:11 AM

                                                                                  I agree with the experience of other posters. In Portugal, yes, you'll be charged with whatever you touch on the table...bread, butter, dishes, etc. In some tourist areas in Spain, they MAY charge only the bread (or not)...but what's shocking is some restaurants still serve FREE tapas with your drink order.
                                                                                  Now, Cheesecake factory charging for lemon wedges is just beyond me....since it is known as the restaurant of excess.

                                                                                  Like Bill Hunt, we will be heading to Italy too soon and will take note again of the copertos and waters on the table.

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: trvlcrzy
                                                                                    c
                                                                                    chefathome Apr 23, 2011 11:04 AM

                                                                                    We're going to Italy in a week as well but this time not to the Cinque Terre where we were charged for the use of olive oil and balsamic vinegar!

                                                                                    1. re: chefathome
                                                                                      t
                                                                                      trvlcrzy Apr 24, 2011 04:59 PM

                                                                                      Thanks for the additional advise. Been a while since our last Italian vacay....I remember ordering wrongly and getting charged $10 for a gelato (single scoop on sugar cone). Of course, I'm sure the same rule follows: eat on the counter as it's way less than sitting down.

                                                                                      1. re: trvlcrzy
                                                                                        c
                                                                                        chefathome Apr 25, 2011 09:30 AM

                                                                                        That is so true - you certainly do pay for the privilege of sitting, especially sitting on chairs that spill out onto a lovely square.

                                                                                      2. re: chefathome
                                                                                        Bill Hunt Apr 26, 2011 06:19 PM

                                                                                        Wow, Italy will be FILLED with Chowhounds next week! We must all post to the Italy Board, of our experiences.

                                                                                        Travel safely everyone, and now I know why I could not get my BC upgrade on the flight home - the front of the plane is full of CH's!!!!!!

                                                                                        Ciao,

                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                    2. Peg Apr 22, 2011 08:52 AM

                                                                                      In the UK getting anything for free would be very unusual - so here the topic would be "getting things for free that I would normally expect to pay for".

                                                                                      Why would you expect ever something for nothing?

                                                                                      22 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Peg
                                                                                        r
                                                                                        Rella Apr 22, 2011 09:06 AM

                                                                                        I would expect things that 'NORMALLY come with the meal."
                                                                                        I'm sure others could enumerate the items that traditionally/generally 'come with the meal here in the U.S.
                                                                                        I'll start off with: ketchup, napkins, mustard, salt, pepper, tap water in a glass with or without ice...

                                                                                        1. re: Rella
                                                                                          John E. Apr 22, 2011 09:19 AM

                                                                                          I'll add to your list: jelly, sugar, sugar substitute, steak sauce...

                                                                                          1. re: Rella
                                                                                            Bill Hunt Apr 22, 2011 07:13 PM

                                                                                            Ah pepper. Should we expect to be charged by the grain?

                                                                                            I guess that I have been most fortunate, as I have not encountered much of this sort of thing. I guess that I should gird my loins, as it's coming.

                                                                                            Heading to Rome for my first Italian trip, so I have been following this thread closely. I promise to NOT blow my nose on the napkin, as who knows who will get it with their breakfast?

                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                          2. re: Peg
                                                                                            Bill Hunt Apr 22, 2011 07:11 PM

                                                                                            Peg,

                                                                                            Can you clarify a bit. We dine there, though usually in higher-end Mayfair restaurants, but also in some rather local establishments. I am always greeted with a condiments basket with "brown sauce," mustard, and if in a pub-like restaurant, malt vinegar, and even the US staple - ketchup.

                                                                                            Maybe I am just missing something here?

                                                                                            Thanks from a daft Yank,

                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                              Peg Apr 23, 2011 01:14 AM

                                                                                              Hi Bill
                                                                                              my point was more along the lines of 'I wouldn't I expect something to be free just because someone else doesn't charge'.
                                                                                              In teh UK we get free condments (usually), but free coffee refills are very unusual here - and free soft drink refills unheard of. Likewise no free salsa and chips at South American/Mexican places. I've encountered butter charged for by the pat, and bread by the slice - but it is always made clear what the charges will be. I'd never be shocked to see something charged for just because other places don't charge explicitly for an item - I'd just figure other places bury the cost in the price of other things.

                                                                                              1. re: Peg
                                                                                                Bill Hunt Apr 26, 2011 06:17 PM

                                                                                                I have encountered some of this, but not all.

                                                                                                The chips and salsa, are starting to disappear from the "free, and as soon as you are seated" list, but I have no issue buying them.

                                                                                                As I do not usually drink any carbonated beverages, other than sparkling water, I am not capable of offering any observations.

                                                                                                With coffee, I do not recall being charged for refills, but then at £8 for a large cup, maybe the refills are built into the price?

                                                                                                To date, I do not recall a butter charge, nor a condiment charge, but again, maybe at the places that I have dined, all of that is figured into the prices?

                                                                                                It's like flying nowadays. Some airlines charge for any bags, the overhead storage, a pillow, a blanket, and even for the oxygen, if the masks deploy - exact change required... [Last one is a joke], but at my level, I get 3 bags, at up to 70 lbs. each, for free, and usually get a free upgrade, or I pay $ and points, and upgrade. I usually fly long distances, so do not even look at some of the discount airlines, and just do not know.

                                                                                                I'd rather pay a price up front, and not have someone measuring things, counting pats of butter, and asking for coinage, at every step of the way. Maybe it's just me, who does not quite get it.

                                                                                                Thanks for your insights.

                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                  weewah Jun 18, 2011 03:56 PM

                                                                                                  i used to eat frequently at a local Mexican joint that was owned and staffed, by an immigrant couple from Acapulco; they were the only staff. The food was unfussy and excellent, and w/ no finesse was more dropped off fast food style, than 'served'.
                                                                                                  The place was very low rent in appearance; tables were plastic folding tables bought at K-Mart (I bought the same one for camping) and the chairs were metal folding chairs. Prices were quite high for the type of atmosphere and service, but again, the food was excellent and I was a regular customer (frequently got take-out as well).
                                                                                                  You could expect to pay between $8.50 and $18.00 per meal, (not including extras or drinks) and this was about 13 years ago, in a converted house on the side of the road..

                                                                                                  Served a basket of chips, for three people at the table (we had ordered full meals plus extras like guacomole -requiring chips), we gobbled them up and wanted more. My ears perked up when I was asked if I wanted a "full order". They had begun charging for re-fills on chips. I expressed dismay, and was given the helpless shrug.

                                                                                                  I subtracted any extra chip charges from the tip (server owned the restaurant) from then on when I ate there, -the prices were already so high for a hole in the wall, but it spoiled my pleasure in the little place. I learned how to make my own tamales and never went back. Since then, the business was closed and the house sold. I do not know why, but I wonder if they just priced themself right out of their customer base? .

                                                                                                  1. re: weewah
                                                                                                    thew Jun 19, 2011 06:17 AM

                                                                                                    you subtracted the charge from the tip? thats ridiculous. maybe the 1st time - but on subsequent visits? why not subtract from the charge for the meat in your tacos too?

                                                                                                    1. re: thew
                                                                                                      John E. Jun 19, 2011 02:14 PM

                                                                                                      I suppose they did not ask for extra meat on tacos and expect it for free because that is not a typical refill item, while soda, iced tea, and tortilla chips at at a Mexican restaurant frequently free refill items.

                                                                                                      1. re: John E.
                                                                                                        thew Jun 19, 2011 03:48 PM

                                                                                                        soda and ice tea being free refills is a very regional thing. it does not exist as far as i know in the north east, not have i seen it in california.

                                                                                                        the point is that the 1st time they told you you might be surprised, and then dock the tip. i wouldn;t but i can understand it. but to then return to the place, where you know they charge, and dock the tip is petty theivery as far as im concerned

                                                                                                        1. re: thew
                                                                                                          Caitlin McGrath Jun 19, 2011 05:35 PM

                                                                                                          "soda and ice tea being free refills is a very regional thing. it does not exist as far as i know in the north east, not have i seen it in california."

                                                                                                          You named the two areas of the US where I have lived, and indeed, the only places in either I've seen free refills of fountain soda are chains. With iced tea, it depends on the restaurant; many refill iced tea at no charge, and equally many do not.

                                                                                                          1. re: thew
                                                                                                            John E. Jun 19, 2011 07:36 PM

                                                                                                            It might be a bit petty, but it's not thievery. I did not realize that refills on soda and tortilla chips were a regional thing. I have noticed it is common in the Phoenix area as well as the midwest.

                                                                                                            1. re: John E.
                                                                                                              thew Jun 20, 2011 06:14 AM

                                                                                                              thievery was hyperbole, clearly.

                                                                                                              1. re: thew
                                                                                                                John E. Jun 20, 2011 07:49 AM

                                                                                                                Yea, I knew that.

                                                                                                            2. re: thew
                                                                                                              susans Jul 4, 2011 05:59 PM

                                                                                                              I live in Southern California and have eaten in many places where I have gotten free refills of ice tea and soda, self-serve and served to me.

                                                                                                    2. re: Peg
                                                                                                      thew Apr 27, 2011 04:39 AM

                                                                                                      free soft drink/ ice tea refills are very regional in the US. mostly seen in the south AFAIK

                                                                                                      1. re: thew
                                                                                                        c
                                                                                                        cleobeach Apr 27, 2011 06:26 AM

                                                                                                        The restaurant at our local golf course used to offer free iced tea refills but stopped. The regulars nearly staged a riot. The manager said it wasn't the cost of the tea that was the deciding factor, it was a manpower issue. The wait staff was spending most of their time refilling glasses.

                                                                                                        1. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                          r
                                                                                                          Rella Apr 27, 2011 06:43 AM

                                                                                                          McDonald's evidently don't have an issue with manpower because I've seen many seniors in my area fill the parking lot for their morning coffee get-together. The seniors take their coffee to a counter where the coffee is located and refill, not disturbing the manpower. . Same thing with tea anytime of the day, just get up and push the button on a tea-pot for your refill.

                                                                                                          When morning is slow, I've seen McDonald's servers actually go around and fill the seniors' cups - just a nice gesture.

                                                                                                          1. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                            Bill Hunt Apr 27, 2011 06:45 PM

                                                                                                            In that case, the club's beverage manager, might have considered having a table, with pitchers of iced-tea for the members.

                                                                                                            Just thinking,

                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                            PS - at my clubs, IIRC, there are a few servers, who do little more than pass about the dining room with pitchers of water and tea. Do not recall anything in any of the newsletters about that part of the service, but might now expect to see something.

                                                                                                          2. re: thew
                                                                                                            alanbarnes Apr 27, 2011 08:18 AM

                                                                                                            It's pretty much the standard out west, too.

                                                                                                            1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                              pikawicca Apr 27, 2011 08:24 AM

                                                                                                              Here in the midwest, as well.

                                                                                                          3. re: Peg
                                                                                                            TheHuntress May 1, 2011 07:26 PM

                                                                                                            Same goes for Australia. Free refills of coffee or soft drink (even postmix) is unheard of. Very few restaurants offer free bread, definitely no free salsa and chips at Mexican joints, but then Australia does Mexican poorly anyway. Tap water is free by law, but if bottled still or sparkling is offered you are expected to pay for it. I've never come across being charged for pats of butter or slices of bread - rather if you want bread you can order a basket of it and it will come with butter.

                                                                                                            Being Australian I find these boards about dining etiquette in the US absolutely fascinating. We just don't have the same rules - you expect to be charged for what you order (all prices are on menus or told to you by waiststaff, no nasty surprises) and there is no tipping culture as waitstaff are already paid a wage. It's just so interesting!

                                                                                                      2. Bill Hunt Apr 19, 2011 06:45 PM

                                                                                                        I have not encountered this, but then, when I wish to make a substitution, or obtain extra ___, I always preface that request with, "I expect to pay for the change/addition." Usually, the decline to charge me, though I fully expect them to do so.

                                                                                                        Now, when I request something that is on the menu, as a substitution, and offer to pay extra, and they refuse - that is a different story.

                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                        1. c
                                                                                                          chefathome Apr 16, 2011 08:47 AM

                                                                                                          The most expensive still water we (almost) had was in Venice for 7 euros (between $8-$9) for a 750 mL bottle. We just couldn't do it!

                                                                                                          20 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: chefathome
                                                                                                            Delucacheesemonger Apr 16, 2011 09:03 AM

                                                                                                            La Huiterie in Lille, northern France 18 euros for a bottle of Chateldun

                                                                                                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                                                              c
                                                                                                              chefathome Apr 16, 2011 11:09 AM

                                                                                                              Wow! That's slightly decadent.

                                                                                                              What I meant was I thought it was pretty pricey for regular bottled water - nothing unusual or extraordinary.

                                                                                                              1. re: chefathome
                                                                                                                Delucacheesemonger Apr 16, 2011 11:20 AM

                                                                                                                In France, Chateldun is regular bottled fizzy water. Granted very good water, but bottled water nonetheless. Costs @ 2 euros in stores that stock it.

                                                                                                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                                                                  c
                                                                                                                  chefathome Apr 19, 2011 02:06 PM

                                                                                                                  Very interesting how that works! ;-P

                                                                                                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                                                                    k
                                                                                                                    kimmer1850 Apr 23, 2011 10:00 AM

                                                                                                                    Okay, I'll stop bitching about wine mark-ups, now!!! Good googity moogity!

                                                                                                                    1. re: kimmer1850
                                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                                      JasFoodie Jul 8, 2011 11:05 AM

                                                                                                                      I think the worst overpriced water I've ever seen wasn't in a restaurant but in a gas station convenience store. I forget the name of the town but it was the VERY last stop for water/food/gas before crossing the Mojave desert while driving cross country. I forget what the gas prices were but water was $7 - $8 a bottle. For stuff like Dasani and Aquafina. Not huge bottles either but those regular sized bottles that you pick up for a buck. Fortunately I was travelling the same route a friend had taken the year before and he gave me a heads up so I stopped and stocked up on water and gas a few miles before hitting that town. But my mind still boggles.

                                                                                                                      1. re: JasFoodie
                                                                                                                        s
                                                                                                                        soupkitten Jul 8, 2011 11:33 AM

                                                                                                                        bottles of water are also marked way way up on golf courses and at zoos and in sports arenas and at concert venues. . . markups are profit for the venue and in many instances a bev markup evens things out for the average customer, equalling lower ticket prices, and senior/children's discounts etc, or in a restaurant's case lower (food) menu prices, prix fixes, happy hours or other specials. it isn't like markups on any bev is some brand-new phenomenon, nor is marking up the price of any essential item when there is a captive audience. $7 peanuts at the ballpark? i wonder how many folks pay $10+ on their hotel bill to replace that forgotten toothbrush with a cruddy 99 cent one. . . ;) the difference is a restaurant will bring to your table a glass of tap water, with ice, upon request, gratis.

                                                                                                              2. re: chefathome
                                                                                                                alanbarnes Apr 24, 2011 09:45 AM

                                                                                                                La Folie, San Francisco. Asked for water without specifying "tap," and they brought a 1-liter bottle of Fiji. Didn't complain about it, and didn't ask the price. How bad can it be, anyway? It's not like this is some exotic European mineral water; the stuff comes in a plastic bottle and you can buy it for $2 at Safeway.

                                                                                                                Sure learned from that mistake. They charged $19 for that $2 bottle of water. With tax and tip, it came to nearly $25. The food was great, but that sure left a bad taste in my mouth.

                                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                                  k
                                                                                                                  kittyangel Apr 24, 2011 01:53 PM

                                                                                                                  alanbarnes, I can't believe there aren't better laws protecting consumers from highway robbery like that...well, maybe I can. Doesn't seem like we're protected from anything any more. If I'm gonna be charge $19 dollars for a drink there darn well better be some alcohol in it!

                                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                                    r
                                                                                                                    Rella Apr 24, 2011 02:05 PM

                                                                                                                    Ordering water has become a problem for me. I usually order a glass of wine -- my limit, a glass and a half.
                                                                                                                    . Basically I want to finish my meal with a glass of water, but just a wee-bit;; usually I will order "tap water" without ice at the beginning of the meal, hoping the chlorine will 'gass off." . I don't like lemon particularly, but I think that will mask the chlorine taste, or lemon can cover up a doggie taste for me - where that doggie taste comes from? Well, I don't want to guess.

                                                                                                                    I definitely don't drink water out of a plastic bottle; so where does that leave me? Well... while keeping the roof of my mouth from locking to my tongue, I'm envisioning that thermos I have in the car with some of my water from home. Whew!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Rella
                                                                                                                      thew Apr 24, 2011 02:45 PM

                                                                                                                      where do you live that the tap water has such foul taste?

                                                                                                                      1. re: Rella
                                                                                                                        John E. Apr 24, 2011 05:20 PM

                                                                                                                        I've never noticed a chorline taste in tap water and I am wondering what it is you mean by "doggie taste". My intent is not to put you on the defensive, I am simply curious.

                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                          r
                                                                                                                          Rella Apr 24, 2011 06:53 PM

                                                                                                                          http://environment.about.com/od/earth...

                                                                                                                          1. re: Rella
                                                                                                                            John E. Apr 24, 2011 09:18 PM

                                                                                                                            I understand chlorine as well as flouride is added to municipal water supplies, I've just never noticed it affecting the taste of the water. I don't know what doggie taste is. Where do you live? It's possible that the water in Minnesota is clean enough so that less filtering and agents are needed.

                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                              alanbarnes Apr 24, 2011 10:15 PM

                                                                                                                              I can't speak for Rella, but here in Sacramento we occasionally get a "wet dog" smell from our tap water. One theory I've heard is that it's a combination of disturbed solids and treatment chemicals (they dose the pipes after working on them). I have no idea whether that's true, but it sounds plausible. Anyhow, it's only a few days a year, but it's really nasty.

                                                                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                                                John E. Apr 25, 2011 06:08 AM

                                                                                                                                Now I do remember hearing a news report from somewhere about a municipal water supply with foul smelling but still safe to drink and use water. Something about algae I think. I just have never personally experienced it and cannot imagine a restaurant serving water like that.

                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                  alanbarnes Apr 25, 2011 08:03 AM

                                                                                                                                  Many restaurants filter the tap water they serve. One thing I've noticed in the last few years is that a few will even force-carbonate some of it. Complimentary sparkling water is something I could get used to in a hurry.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                                                    Bill Hunt Apr 26, 2011 06:10 PM

                                                                                                                                    One of our favorite restaurants in Phoenix has a policy. The person serving the water explains the tap water filtration (triple phase), and then asks if one wishes the tap water, or to select from several bottled waters, at a price.

                                                                                                                                    Though the water in Phoenix is not the best (they did not name it the Rio Salado for no reason), the triple-filtered tap tastes like Voss, and it's free.

                                                                                                                                    Nice touch in my book. Now, they no longer have to go through the entire process with us, because all the servers know that we know, but every new diner gets the full spiel.

                                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                      alanbarnes Apr 26, 2011 06:44 PM

                                                                                                                                      I agree that that's by far the best way to go. Now I'm waiting for the folks at La Folie to implement it - with refills priced at $5 per glass.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                                                        Bill Hunt Apr 26, 2011 09:43 PM

                                                                                                                                        Alan,

                                                                                                                                        If I could only get them to refill my glass of Screaming Eagle for US$ 5... [Insert big grin here]

                                                                                                                                        I like the candor, and the price (free, at least not on the bill), though sometimes we do feel like sparkling and pay. Cannot recall the price, but assume that we found it fair.

                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                  2. h
                                                                                                                    hsk Apr 15, 2011 08:18 PM

                                                                                                                    Some charge, some don't. A few bucks is no biggie, if I like the place, I never expect extras to be free (it's nice if it is).

                                                                                                                    1. monku Apr 15, 2011 07:25 PM

                                                                                                                      Every now and then I like some salsa with my eggs.
                                                                                                                      Now isn't salsa a "condiment"?
                                                                                                                      Not according to some hotel restaurants...they charge extra and treat salsa like it's a side order.

                                                                                                                      1. k
                                                                                                                        Kosherbyforce Apr 14, 2011 07:56 PM

                                                                                                                        Not quite the same thing, perhaps, but I don't usually get cheese on my sandwiches/burgers when I go out. So if the cheese is already included in the price, I think I should get some credit toward having something else on my sandwich, say mushrooms. But, no, I still get charged the full price of the sandwich, plus the full price of what is considered to be the extra item. I have never, ever not had this happens and it always irritates me.

                                                                                                                        1. j
                                                                                                                          jaykayen Apr 14, 2011 10:56 AM

                                                                                                                          Asked for soda water once at a Claim Jumper. I think I was charged $1.50

                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: jaykayen
                                                                                                                            Beach Chick Apr 14, 2011 11:02 AM

                                                                                                                            soda water came out of a gun at the bar, so yeah, you would be charged for that..
                                                                                                                            $1.50 seems reasonable since a friend of ours always orders club soda and it comes to $4 a glass vs. getting a big bottle of Pelligrino for $5..

                                                                                                                            1. re: Beach Chick
                                                                                                                              Beach Chick Apr 14, 2011 11:27 AM

                                                                                                                              I was just charged .50 cent a for cup for water with my Mex food...it did come with a free lemon wedge!

                                                                                                                              1. re: Beach Chick
                                                                                                                                j
                                                                                                                                jaykayen Apr 15, 2011 01:14 PM

                                                                                                                                the "regular" water comes out of a gun at the bar, too.

                                                                                                                                I thought charging for water was illegal

                                                                                                                                1. re: jaykayen
                                                                                                                                  Caitlin McGrath Apr 19, 2011 01:21 PM

                                                                                                                                  Charging for carbonated water of any kind is certainly not illegal, it's tap water that in many places must be offered to customers without charge. I would never expect not to be charged for soda water, so I am surprised that that was your expectation. Is it your experience that this is something usually provided free?

                                                                                                                                  It is becoming more common here for upscale places to offer a choice of still or house-carbonated water for free in place of selling bottled water in order to avoid the environmental cost of bottled water.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                    monku Apr 19, 2011 08:20 PM

                                                                                                                                    Back in the early days plain soda water was called a "2 cent plain".

                                                                                                                                    1. re: monku
                                                                                                                                      mamachef Apr 20, 2011 10:35 AM

                                                                                                                                      Hey, I remember that, monku! My grampa Harry used to order me an ice cream cone, and for himself, a "for two cents, plain."

                                                                                                                            2. srsone Apr 14, 2011 09:37 AM

                                                                                                                              one of my peeves is refills of soda...
                                                                                                                              we went to a decent hibachi grill place in town once for bday celebration..
                                                                                                                              we all had sodas...and they kept refilling them with out even asking..only it turns out they charge for each glass..2$ a pop!!! they then brought us the bill with 40$ just for sodas...i was pissed..
                                                                                                                              and it didnt say they charge by the glass on the menu...i know cuz i then went back and looked..nor were we informed of it...have never been back to that place again..

                                                                                                                              so now i always ask or check the menu if they do free refills..
                                                                                                                              and i ask if they have coke or pepsi ..
                                                                                                                              cuz everybody just generically says "coke" meaning a soda...

                                                                                                                              36 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: srsone
                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Apr 14, 2011 10:11 AM

                                                                                                                                No, everyone doesn't just say "Coke" and mean a soda. I think that's more an affectation of those in the South. When I say Coke, I mean a Coca-Cola soda. And that's it. I don't mean a Fanta orange soda, I don't mean a ginger ale, I don't mean any other carbonated drink.

                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                  srsone Apr 14, 2011 10:21 AM

                                                                                                                                  i am in the south... :-)
                                                                                                                                  but yes i also mean coca cola...
                                                                                                                                  rarely a good server will say sorry we have pepsi...then i order a mountain dew...
                                                                                                                                  but it happens enough that i learn to ask...

                                                                                                                                  but i have never said coke and been brought an orange or a sprite..

                                                                                                                                  1. re: srsone
                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit Apr 14, 2011 10:27 AM

                                                                                                                                    OK, so for this born & bred Northerner - when you say "Coke" it ONLY means a brown carbonated drink? I thought it stood for almost any carbonated drink.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                      srsone Apr 14, 2011 10:40 AM

                                                                                                                                      typically yes...coke means regular brown carbonated soft drink..
                                                                                                                                      but typically its either coke or pepsi..and on rare occasions RC...

                                                                                                                                      if i want other flavors then i ask what kind of soda do u have?
                                                                                                                                      and now im southern by marriage :-)

                                                                                                                                      so if i said "put the coke on the bureau" you would know where the coke was?

                                                                                                                                      and MAMACHEF
                                                                                                                                      and i knew a kid from minnesota who used to say "pop" all the time ..

                                                                                                                                      1. re: srsone
                                                                                                                                        John E. Apr 19, 2011 07:49 AM

                                                                                                                                        Although this pop/soda/coke map has been posted before you'll note that "pop" isn't just a Minnesota thing. http://bigthink.com/ideas/21360. What I find interesting about the map is that the entire state of Minnesota is blue meaning 50 - 100% of those responding indicate they refer to carbonated soft drinks as 'pop' with the exception of Lake of the Woods County which is the point at the top of Minnesota that sticks into Canada. (It's the northernmost county in the U.S.) That part is chartreuse meaning 'other'. It seems only three people in the county (pop. 4,000 ;) were asked the pop/soda/coke question and one honyocker had to respond with 'other'.

                                                                                                                                        Although I was born and raised in Minnesota and have lived here the majority of my life, somewhere along the way I picked up the habit of saying soda instead of the usual pop.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                          c
                                                                                                                                          CanadaGirl Apr 22, 2011 07:34 PM

                                                                                                                                          As a Canadian, I am firmly in the "pop" camp. And, "coke" means Coca-Cola. Not any other cola and certainly not pop in general.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                            k
                                                                                                                                            kittyangel Apr 22, 2011 09:25 PM

                                                                                                                                            I clicked your link but it said the page doesn't exist(?). I was born & raised in Central PA and we called carbonated drinks "soda's", but when I visited relatives in Michigan years ago, they called it "pop".

                                                                                                                                            To me, "soda pop" is any carbonated beverage. If I want something specific, I check the menu or ask if they have it when ordering.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: kittyangel
                                                                                                                                              John E. Apr 22, 2011 09:58 PM

                                                                                                                                              Try this one: http://www.popvssoda.com/countystats/...

                                                                                                                                              It looks like 'pop' country starts just a little bit west of you.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                k
                                                                                                                                                kittyangel Apr 24, 2011 01:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                Fascinating.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                      mamachef Apr 14, 2011 10:31 AM

                                                                                                                                      <I want a Coca-Cola soda>
                                                                                                                                      When I first moved to California, one of the things I brought along was the regional term for soda that I'd grown up with, "pop." I think I was 15-16 before I learned my lesson about colloquialisms, when I asked a very harried waitress, "what kind of pop do you have?" and she all but yelled at me, "WE DON'T SELL POT HERE, AND WE DON'T WANT TO SERVE PEOPLE WHO SMOKE THAT STUFF!!"

                                                                                                                                      1. re: mamachef
                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Apr 14, 2011 10:49 AM

                                                                                                                                        LOL!!! She was making sure you AND the entire restaurant knew they didn't sell pot! ;-)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: mamachef
                                                                                                                                          p
                                                                                                                                          pine time Apr 15, 2011 12:54 PM

                                                                                                                                          That's too funny! I was raised in KY, and pop was all I knew until I was at least a teenager. Another one--when I went to college and bought some groceries, the clerk (in the strongest KY accent I've ever heard) asked "ya'll want that in a poke?" Even tho' I was also from KY, never heard that before, but had heard of poke salad. Turns out, her poke was a bag.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                            mamachef Apr 15, 2011 01:49 PM

                                                                                                                                            I had a similar experience: first I had to wrap my tiny brain around the concept that a poke was a bag, and then I had to do it all over again when a friend's mother asked me if I wanted some poke sallet, and all I could think of was, "you eat paper bags?"

                                                                                                                                            1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                              r
                                                                                                                                              Rella Apr 21, 2011 07:53 PM

                                                                                                                                              For me, from WV, I always said 'pop' and 'poke' for a bag,
                                                                                                                                              and we called green bell peppers, "mangoes."

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rella
                                                                                                                                                sunshine842 Apr 24, 2011 01:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                in northern Indiana, any carbonated beverage was a 'coke' and my Hoosier-born grandma called green peppers 'mangoes' -- you're the only other person I've ever come into contact with who used that word.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                  r
                                                                                                                                                  Rella Apr 24, 2011 12:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Some of my relatives still do call green bell peppers "mangoes." I guess out of habit.

                                                                                                                                                  I grew up thinking they were mangoes (b. 1935).

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                    poofty Apr 25, 2011 07:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                    in southern Indiana 'coke' also was any carbonated beverage. when asking for coke, answer "what kind of coke do you want?"

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: poofty
                                                                                                                                                      sunshine842 Apr 25, 2011 11:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                      +100 when we left Indiana, people were pretty sure we were nuts.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: mamachef
                                                                                                                                                k
                                                                                                                                                kittyangel Apr 24, 2011 01:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                Rella, never heard of calling peppers mangoes. Wonder where that comes from.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: kittyangel
                                                                                                                                                  r
                                                                                                                                                  Rella Apr 24, 2011 01:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                  I don't really know, but I've often wondered perhaps the name was picked up from sailors coming through the West Indies.

                                                                                                                                                  Maybe that it is partly my imagination as I have an ancestor (1700's) who jumped ship which was coming thru the West Indies, and I would think there were other travelers from there and surrounding environs.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kittyangel
                                                                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                                                                    cleobeach Apr 25, 2011 07:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Growing up in PA, calling green peppers "mangoes" was very common. I have no idea why.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                                                                      r
                                                                                                                                                      Rella Apr 25, 2011 08:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Curious, are you speaking of the western part of Pennsylvania?
                                                                                                                                                      I'm wondering if this is common to the Ohio River Basin/area.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rella
                                                                                                                                                        c
                                                                                                                                                        cleobeach Apr 25, 2011 09:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                        No, Northeastern. Particularly in the coal region area.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                                                                          k
                                                                                                                                                          kittyangel Apr 25, 2011 08:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                          I was born, raised, and still live in South Central PA, and have never heard of green peppers referred to as mangoes, so this made me curious. I Googled it and found the following on Wikipedia - hope it's OK to copy and paste:

                                                                                                                                                          "In the Ohio Valley, people sometimes refer to bell peppers as mangos. This has been explained by the practice of pickling the fruit known as a mango when it was imported to the American colonies in the 1600s, before refrigeration. At some point, any fruit which was pickled was called "mango". Bell peppers were sometimes pickled, so they were also called mangos.[4]"

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: mamachef
                                                                                                                                                    k
                                                                                                                                                    kittyangel Apr 24, 2011 01:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                    mamachef, that's just too funny!

                                                                                                                                                  3. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                    decolady Jun 20, 2011 04:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                    No, when you say "coke" in my part of the South it is Coca-Cola. It's not Pepsi (nasty stuff) or any other soft drink. An RC is always RC, not coke. Dr. Pepper is Dr. Pepper, not coke. Root beer is root beer, not coke (and it is often asked for by brand). If an establishment doesn't carry Coca-Cola products, the servers normally ask, "Is xxx OK?" If it's not coke, then no it is not OK. And there is no affectation.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: decolady
                                                                                                                                                      srsone Jul 5, 2011 06:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                      yes...i agree with that 100%

                                                                                                                                                  4. re: srsone
                                                                                                                                                    b
                                                                                                                                                    beachmouse Apr 15, 2011 03:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Here's the pop v. soda v. coke American map:

                                                                                                                                                    http://www.popvssoda.com/

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: beachmouse
                                                                                                                                                      srsone Apr 15, 2011 08:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                      wow.....i never thought anybody would graph it like that...

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: srsone
                                                                                                                                                      Firegoat Apr 21, 2011 04:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Luckily for all the bad experiences there are good ones. Went to a little family diner for the first time for breakfast on Friday when both the bf and I were off. I had diet coke, he had unsweetened ice tea. Our drinks were constantly topped off.... and when the bill even came the waitress brought us full to-go drinks to take with us no extra charge. You can be sure that that extra care was well reflected in her tip.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Firegoat
                                                                                                                                                        Bill Hunt Apr 21, 2011 06:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Now that is a "thank you" that you remembered. It did not cost the establishment much, and made a good impression. If you are like me, these are the little things, that one remembers.

                                                                                                                                                        Ever wonder why Southwest Airlines is putting so much effort and $ into "Bags fly free?" Now, at my level with my main airline, I get 3 bags free (so does my wife), and also a weight premium per each, but even I notice. Should I loose my level with UAL, I will remember the promotion form SW.

                                                                                                                                                        In a New Orleans Board thread, I mentioned an incident in a NYC restaurant. In one dish in the chef's tasting & sommelier's wine pairing, there were tiny bits of crab shell. As we are from New Orleans originally, and have eaten crabs most of our lives, that can be expected. I whispered to the captain about those little bits of shell, just to warn her, so following diners might not experience them. She replaced those dishes with fresh ones, and promised "No shells." She added a grand, extra course, PLUS a wine for it, with shaved white truffles. I pulled her aside again, and explained that my intention was NOT to score extra food, but just to warn her, so the prep chef could know to be a tad more careful. She pointed out that this was just their way of saying thank you, for pointing out the issue. When we returned home, there was a thank you card, signed my many of the staff. Guess who will remember that treatment for life? Little things go a very, very long way.

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for sharing a positive experience. We all need more of those.

                                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: srsone
                                                                                                                                                        u
                                                                                                                                                        uwsister Apr 21, 2011 06:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                        I think it's absolutely ridiculous that a lot of restaurants don't do soda refills. If they serve cans or bottles (especially those little, adorable Mexican Coke bottles - I'll pay for those!) of course I don't expect a free one, but if it's coming from a soda gun - it costs them mere *pennies* and they're gonna charge me for every single glass, most of which is filled up with ice anyway? Ugh.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: uwsister
                                                                                                                                                          Bill Hunt Apr 21, 2011 06:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Though I do not drink much soda/pop, I agree, and especially if they have a dispenser. They loose more, each morning, when they prime the dispensing system, than a few refills.

                                                                                                                                                          On most airlines, if there is not wine in my cabin, or if it's not a wine that I want, I order a sparkling water. Some airlines pour a little plastic cup, while others will do that, but place the can on my tray table. Guess which ones I am more impressed by?

                                                                                                                                                          Again, little things...

                                                                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: uwsister
                                                                                                                                                            srsone Apr 21, 2011 06:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                            i also ask for little or no ice.....

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: srsone
                                                                                                                                                            k
                                                                                                                                                            kittyangel Apr 22, 2011 08:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                            I don't blame you about the refills! I haven't heard of paying for "refills" on soda/coffee since the 1970's (I think? ...I was pretty young then...). But paying for refills on some carbonated water & a squirt of syrup is just petty! And restaurants should be upfront about anything they charge for!!!

                                                                                                                                                            As for thinking "coke" generically means soda...not where I'm from . Coke is Coca Cola, Pepsi is Pepsi, Sprite is Sprite,7-Up is 7-Up, etc., etc. If I ask for a Diet Pepsi they say "is Diet Coke" okay? I'm in the habit of just saying "Diet Coke or Pepsi" to make it easy.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kittyangel
                                                                                                                                                              t
                                                                                                                                                              tastesgoodwhatisit May 13, 2011 12:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                              That definitely varies by location, though. I find that outside of Canada or the US, you can't assume that soft drinks or coffee will be refilled for free unless explicitly stated.

                                                                                                                                                          3. s
                                                                                                                                                            Sdenred Apr 14, 2011 08:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                            A McDonalds I was charged for Catsup. Their policy was one free packet per customer, anything beyond that .10 each. I was purchasing 4 meals at the time and have never gone back.

                                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sdenred
                                                                                                                                                              Sooeygun Apr 14, 2011 09:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                              I have never encountered that at any McDonalds. Not even in Banff National Park and that McDonalds was more expensive than any Cdn one I had ever been to.

                                                                                                                                                              That must have been a really cheap manager.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sooeygun
                                                                                                                                                                mamachef Apr 14, 2011 10:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                The Burger King closest to our house charges extra for their little packets of side sauce. It was a happy day when I figured out that I could mix mayo, ketchup and horseradish for a mockup of their onion ring sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sooeygun
                                                                                                                                                                  d
                                                                                                                                                                  DCLindsey Apr 19, 2011 01:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  In Moscow, McDonalds charges per packet.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DCLindsey
                                                                                                                                                                    ChristinaMason Apr 20, 2011 08:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Same in Germany. You pay for mayo, ketchup, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Sooeygun
                                                                                                                                                                    Jen76 Aug 18, 2011 07:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Happens here in Phoenix at the McD's near me. First one is free, each additional packet is 25 cents. These are the bigger packets - more like the size of the nugget sauce cups - not the little plastic pouch packets. They have a sign posted which is the only reason I know this.

                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: Sdenred
                                                                                                                                                                    h
                                                                                                                                                                    HoosierFoodie Apr 14, 2011 10:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    That is going to start at more places (charging for more than one packet of ketchup/mayo/whatever) because people go in and ask for 10+ packages so they can take them home. Restaurants are starting to take surgar/ sweetener "caddies" off of tables for the same reason.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sdenred
                                                                                                                                                                      John E. Apr 19, 2011 07:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      The only time I was ever charged extra for ketchup at McDonald's was in Moldova. They charged 50 banni for a single packet, which contained almost twice as much as a regular Heinz packet. At the time with the exchange rate it made them about .04¢ each.

                                                                                                                                                                      I read somewhere that the paper napkins at fast food restaurants are a large cost to the owner. Apparently some places are handing out two napkins per person and removing the dispensers. I can't say that I blame them since I have occasionally observed people take a stack of napkins an inch or more thick.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                        m
                                                                                                                                                                        Mestralle May 13, 2011 02:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        I've been known to go to the Target "food court" to grab condiment packets before we travel (we pack dry deli sandwiches for the plane). I tried once to ask/pay the worker who was wiping down the tables nearby, but that turned into 20 minutes of fruitless explanation, ending with her thinking I was a crazy person. So now I buy an overpriced fountain drink, drop a buck in the charity collection box and call it good.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mestralle
                                                                                                                                                                          Bill Hunt Jun 18, 2011 09:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          We kind of do similar, but will buy the condiments at Costco, or similar, and travel with them. Things like raw sugar in small packets, coffee creamer, and the like, are usually packed into the side-compartments of our suitcases, along with various wine openers, Vacu-vin stoppers and a pump, plus a Champagne stopper and some spoons. We also travel with about three sizes of coffee filters, but more inns are offering either pods, or canisters for the coffee machines.

                                                                                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                    2. c
                                                                                                                                                                      chefathome Apr 13, 2011 06:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      In several European countries I've been to there is a charge for the bread (per piece). One restaurant in the Cinque Terre, Italy, charged for use of olive oil without informing us in advance. The server came to our table at the end and lifted up the oil and scrutinized it. Of course at the time we had no idea that he was gauging how much we had consumed! And they produce olive oil there for crying out loud. Another place charged us for using balsamic.

                                                                                                                                                                      Don't get me started on having to pay to use the washroom in many countries. I've been to a few washrooms where one actually paid PER SQUARE of toilet paper. Thankfully I carry kleenex with me but still.

                                                                                                                                                                      18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chefathome
                                                                                                                                                                        Emme Apr 13, 2011 09:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        inquiring minds [mine!] *need* to know... where did you pay PER SQUARE of toilet paper? and how much?!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Emme
                                                                                                                                                                          Delucacheesemonger Apr 14, 2011 12:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          Sorry chefathome, it happened to me as well and one silly reason l rarely go to Italy,eventhough l live in France for 1/3 of the year. Cost me a few lira, not the money, but each time these old women dressed in black looking like the beginning of Macbeth come running up to prevent my wife from entering the restroom. Unlike the French the Italians often charge for B&B, parking in empty lots and many niggling other things that are nickel and dime items.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                                                                                                                            c
                                                                                                                                                                            chefathome Apr 14, 2011 07:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            Your description of Macbeth is priceless! It's true that it happens frequently in Italy. They tend to charge for anything and everything possible - not always, but often. Oh - I just thought of this. I went to a place in Italy where they charged for paper napkins! Parking prices are outlandish in many countries, too. One reason we frequently go to Italy is that our house is in Croatia and so fly into Italy (so add on a few days at the beginning or end).

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chefathome
                                                                                                                                                                              r
                                                                                                                                                                              Rella Apr 21, 2011 07:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Years ago in Cortina, Italy, we were given cloth napkins at dinnertime, but were told after we used them to put them inside a little cloth type pocketbook-type-envelope made out of the same material.

                                                                                                                                                                              I asked why I was doing this and the answer was that so they could save on the washing because we would re-use them the next morning for breakfast. I've always wondered if maybe they didn't wash the envelope, because that is the only way they could save on washing. I'm still puzzled over this one decades later LOL

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rella
                                                                                                                                                                                c
                                                                                                                                                                                chefathome Apr 22, 2011 12:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                What? Really? I have never heard of such a thing. It is certainly an...um...interesting concept!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rella
                                                                                                                                                                                  tracylee Apr 22, 2011 03:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  That is odd, Rella.

                                                                                                                                                                                  We were staying at a hotel in Cuenca, Ecuador with a restaurant, and Dad spilled red wine on the table cloth (after arguing with the waiter about ordering red wine with seafood). The next morning, we sat at the same table for breakfast, and the stain was still there.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tracylee
                                                                                                                                                                                    r
                                                                                                                                                                                    Rella Apr 22, 2011 07:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I mostly laughed while I was snorting.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rella
                                                                                                                                                                                      Bill Hunt Apr 22, 2011 07:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      IF you SNORT, please do not do so in the napkin, as I might get it the next morning for breakfast...

                                                                                                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                                                        k
                                                                                                                                                                                        kittyangel Apr 22, 2011 08:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        GEEEZ! Now I think I'm gonna have to get drunk before I eat out!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kittyangel
                                                                                                                                                                                          Bill Hunt Apr 22, 2011 08:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          I promise to NOT do so.That is why I always have a handkerchief in my pocket, and one in my briefcase. If you get MY napkin, then it will be 98% clean.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Rella
                                                                                                                                                                                    Bill Hunt Apr 22, 2011 07:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, neat. Now I understand why the lipstick stains on my napkin do not match my wife's shade.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for the info,

                                                                                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                                                                                                                                  k
                                                                                                                                                                                  kpaxonite Jun 11, 2011 02:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  I go to Italy a lot an that has never happened...and you paid in lira?? must have been over a decade ago,,

                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: Emme
                                                                                                                                                                                  c
                                                                                                                                                                                  chefathome Apr 14, 2011 07:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  When I have seen places charge PER SQUARE I turn on my heel and go elsewhere. I have seen this in a few places in Italy and one in Germany. When waiting in line at one toilet I saw the washroom attendant count out money and tear off a certain number of squares per person. There was actually a pictoral sign so there was no question what was going on. I have never and will never pay for tp like that. In fact, I recall only paying to use the WC once - I refuse to on principle. Usually just duck into a museum, train station or whatever is handy if we're in a larger centre. In rural areas I find far fewer places charge to use the WC. In Croatia I have yet to see this.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chefathome
                                                                                                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                                                                                                    chefathome Apr 16, 2011 08:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    The place that charged for the olive oil is in Riomaggiore. I don't know the name of the place but can picture it - would definitely recognize it!

                                                                                                                                                                                    One of the places where tp was charged per piece was in Scotland, near St. Andrews.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Emme
                                                                                                                                                                                    j
                                                                                                                                                                                    jlhinwa Apr 16, 2011 11:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    I had the "pay for a square of toilet tissue" experience a couple of times in Mexico. Once was in a public restroom near the Tulum ruins outside of Cancun. Another was in a restroom in another remote tourist location. In both cases, they were the only restroom anywhere to be found and they both had stalls without toilet paper. Very enterprising.

                                                                                                                                                                                    They could have really made a fortune if they sold hand sanitizer or handwipes. Those places were nasty!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jlhinwa
                                                                                                                                                                                      BobB May 5, 2011 07:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Which is why I always have a packet of tissues in my pocket when traveling. I carry a handkerchief at all times so they're not for my nose.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: BobB
                                                                                                                                                                                        t
                                                                                                                                                                                        tastesgoodwhatisit May 13, 2011 12:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm quite used to bringing my own tissue in public washrooms, as provided tissue is not a given in many countries. And not all places use tissues - you could spot the hostel areas in India by the stacks of toilet paper for sale to tourists.

                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: chefathome
                                                                                                                                                                                    o
                                                                                                                                                                                    ospreycove Apr 14, 2011 08:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Wow, where did you eat? I have never heard of any charge in Italy other than the Coperto. Oh, in a Bar, (coffee), there is sometimes a charge for ice.

                                                                                                                                                                                  4. j
                                                                                                                                                                                    juliewong Apr 13, 2011 05:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    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.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. s
                                                                                                                                                                                      small h Apr 13, 2011 01:30 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                      http://ny.eater.com/archives/2011/03/...

                                                                                                                                                                                      22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: small h
                                                                                                                                                                                        twyst Apr 22, 2011 09:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                          John E. Apr 22, 2011 09:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                            s
                                                                                                                                                                                            small h Apr 23, 2011 07:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                              huiray Apr 23, 2011 08:06 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                                                                                                small h Apr 23, 2011 08:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                  huiray Apr 23, 2011 08:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                                                                                                    small h Apr 23, 2011 08:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                      twyst Apr 23, 2011 08:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                        k
                                                                                                                                                                                                        kittyangel Apr 24, 2011 01:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                          twyst Apr 24, 2011 01:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                            k
                                                                                                                                                                                                            kittyangel Apr 24, 2011 01:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                                                                                                                          small h Apr 24, 2011 04:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bill Hunt Apr 26, 2011 06:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    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.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                                                                                                      small h Apr 26, 2011 06:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bill Hunt Apr 26, 2011 09:41 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                                                                        sunshine842 Apr 26, 2011 11:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        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)...it comes in a carafe, and you pour as you like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's a wonderful thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bill Hunt Apr 27, 2011 06:42 PM

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

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Appreciated,

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                                                                            sunshine842 Apr 27, 2011 11:20 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bill Hunt May 9, 2011 06:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              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.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                            k
                                                                                                                                                                                                            kpaxonite Jun 11, 2011 01:59 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kpaxonite
                                                                                                                                                                                                              c
                                                                                                                                                                                                              CanadaGirl Jun 12, 2011 05:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Halifax too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bill Hunt Apr 26, 2011 05:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Now that is a perspective that I had not considered.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for giving us food for thought.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. crazee Apr 13, 2011 07:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                        r
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Rella Apr 21, 2011 07:42 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. c
                                                                                                                                                                                                        cleobeach Apr 13, 2011 06:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        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, etc....you 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
                                                                                                                                                                                                          512window Apr 13, 2011 11:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                            l
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lixer Apr 13, 2011 11:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                              c
                                                                                                                                                                                                              cleobeach Apr 14, 2011 06:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                k
                                                                                                                                                                                                                kittyangel Apr 22, 2011 07:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  bagelman01 Apr 23, 2011 08:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    k
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    kittyangel Apr 24, 2011 12:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      chocomel Apr 27, 2011 04:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bill Hunt Apr 27, 2011 06:41 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: 512window
                                                                                                                                                                                                              o
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ospreycove Apr 14, 2011 08:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              In italy, the Coperto usually covers the bread charge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ospreycove
                                                                                                                                                                                                                k
                                                                                                                                                                                                                kittyangel Apr 18, 2011 05:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                What is "the Coperto"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kittyangel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  h
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  hsk Apr 18, 2011 07:46 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hsk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    k
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    kittyangel Apr 22, 2011 07:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      sunshine842 Apr 24, 2011 01:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  k
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  kittyangel Apr 22, 2011 07:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bill Hunt Apr 22, 2011 07:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      pikawicca Apr 24, 2011 05:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bill Hunt Apr 26, 2011 05:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: kittyangel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      goodhealthgourmet Apr 22, 2011 10:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        k
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        kittyangel Apr 24, 2011 12:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          weewah Jun 18, 2011 03:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ask for a glass and go to the bathroom sink.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: kittyangel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Onepotmeals Mar 1, 2012 06:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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. bagelman01 Apr 13, 2011 03:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit Apr 13, 2011 05:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        bagelman01 Apr 13, 2011 07:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Apr 13, 2011 10:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            mamachef Apr 14, 2011 06:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              bagelman01 Apr 14, 2011 08:20 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bagelman01
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mamachef Apr 14, 2011 08:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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. (?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mamachef
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Apr 14, 2011 08:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  :::Very Big Grin:::

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    mamachef Apr 14, 2011 10:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ah, I get it! Thank you!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: bagelman01
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          MinkeyMonkey Apr 14, 2011 06:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            k
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            kittyangel Apr 22, 2011 07:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              bagelman01 Apr 23, 2011 07:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                thew Apr 24, 2011 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  r
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Rella Apr 24, 2011 12:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    k
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    kittyangel Apr 24, 2011 01:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      nobadfoodplz Apr 24, 2011 05:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        thew Apr 25, 2011 07:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          w
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          wayne keyser Apr 25, 2011 10:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pay the money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The servers have gone without a raise long enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: wayne keyser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            k
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            kmcarr Apr 27, 2011 12:06 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kmcarr
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              sunshine842 Apr 27, 2011 01:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                thew Apr 28, 2011 04:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                except for people tipping less because the price goes up

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sunshine842 Apr 28, 2011 05:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  also true.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    nobadfoodplz Apr 28, 2011 01:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      sunshine842 Apr 28, 2011 03:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        k
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        kittyangel Apr 28, 2011 04:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          nobadfoodplz Apr 28, 2011 05:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sunshine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            alanbarnes Apr 28, 2011 07:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              nobadfoodplz Apr 29, 2011 02:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                alanbarnes Apr 29, 2011 02:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  nobadfoodplz Apr 29, 2011 02:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    sunshine842 Apr 30, 2011 02:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      nobadfoodplz Apr 30, 2011 04:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      twyst Apr 30, 2011 02:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        sunshine842 Apr 30, 2011 03:47 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: nobadfoodplz
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        alanbarnes Apr 30, 2011 07:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sunshine842 Apr 30, 2011 10:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            alanbarnes Apr 30, 2011 10:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              sunshine842 Apr 30, 2011 10:23 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              nobadfoodplz Apr 30, 2011 10:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                u
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                uwsister May 1, 2011 06:38 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: nobadfoodplz
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        thew Apr 30, 2011 06:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          nobadfoodplz Apr 30, 2011 07:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            alanbarnes Apr 30, 2011 07:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              nobadfoodplz Apr 30, 2011 09:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                alanbarnes Apr 30, 2011 10:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  nobadfoodplz Apr 30, 2011 10:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              thew Apr 30, 2011 09:01 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                nobadfoodplz Apr 30, 2011 09:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                correct

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      b
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      bcorne01 Aug 18, 2011 01:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bill Hunt Apr 26, 2011 05:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            * 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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              cosmogrrl May 1, 2011 07:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                jojo70 Aug 18, 2011 09:52 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: nobadfoodplz
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              jessabella617 May 3, 2011 08:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Dax Mar 2, 2012 12:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      /vent

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Dax
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        sunshine842 Mar 2, 2012 01:36 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Dax
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Emme Mar 2, 2012 07:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2roadsdiverge Mar 9, 2012 12:25 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: 2roadsdiverge
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Emme Mar 9, 2012 11:39 PM

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

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