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Sep 11, 2011 02:07 PM

Did our server do anything 'wrong'?

DH and I went to a new-ish neighborhood restaurant last night. A step up from casual but down from bistro.

We both decided on getting burgers ($10-12/each). I planned to order a side of garlic rapini as a side veggie.

When the waitress took my order, I said: "I'd like the truffle burger"
She responded: "Would you like a side salad or fries"?

.... at that point, in retrospect, I should have asked "Is that included?" but, I didn't and you can see where this is going...

I asked for the salad.

DH ordered his burger and her question to him was with the same tone (as if she wanted him to decide about two options) - as if those were the choices to be made.

When the bill arrived, there were 2 side salads at $4/each.

We asked the waitress if it was a mistake and she explained that they were in fact sides. I told her the way she asked was misleading and we assumed they were part of the burger.

In thinking about it further, there were several side options (the rapini, mac n cheese, potatoes, different types of fries, soup etc) - not just salad and fries - which, to me, are typical sides offered with a burger.

I was further irked because this is a newish spot and I'd imagine many patrons are first timers and not familiar with the menu and what's offered.

It put a bad taste in my mouth towards the establishment... so, I ask you - do you think she was intentionally trying to get us to order a side? I found the way in which she asked to be misleading. But, perhaps my frustration is misdirected and I should have been more apt to ask if it came with what we ordered.


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  1. Was there anything in writing on the menu by way of explanation either way? ("Our burgers come...etc...)

    1 Reply
    1. re: scoopG

      No - nothing was mentioned on the menu. Just a section for burgers and a description of each. There was a section for salads, appetizers, entrees, burgers, and sides.

      I was not expecting any sides to come with the burger, which is why I decided on what side I wanted before hand. Had she not asked the question in the manner she did, I would not have thought anything of the burger just being the burger.

    2. Simple. Should not have happened. It was wrong to do that.

      1. Oracle,

        Was this in LA?

        And, while not "wrong" it is too slick to pass the smell test. Sort of like the continuous pour of bottled water "technique".

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsedixit

          Yep - at Plate 38 in Pasadena, no less. Certainly not 'high end' - although, I think they are trying to be....

        2. Who knows how servers are trained at that place... maybe they are told to phrase things in a way that leads people to think those things are included. I'm always wary and look ahead of time at the menu. Of course she might also have been trying to weasel out a higher tip, but I know that sometimes training gives employees little choice.

          1. With all due respect, I can't believe people still fall for this. If this is the nicest restaurant you've ever been to, you are absolved of knowing that the nicer the place, the more "a la carte" things become. And there were probabably no pictures on the menu to show you what your plate was going to look like. So one needs to assume that even if the server is offering you what SOUNDS like a "choice", buyer beware -- unless you ask, you should expect an additional line item on the bill. As noted, servers are often trained to "upsell"; yours was probably just doing her $2.13/hour job.