Rounding on restaurant bills
Tonight after dining at a regional family owned chain we received the incorrect change for our payment. we were missing the actual change . We showed the waitress, she said it was correct, we showed the math and she said "Oh, you want the coins ? We don't bother with that.". She reached in
to her pocket and put whatever there was onto the table and left. We took what was ours. I have never heard of rounding the bill. I first thought the management would make a good bit extra, then thought they may even out over time. Regardless, the patron who is shortchanged loses out. It may be only cents, but hey - its mine ! I sent a note to the owners for an explaination, haven;t heard yet. Is this common in places ?
If that is in fact their policy, I think it is outrageous. Even if it's only a few cents, it is still the patron's money and they should decide whether to leave it or not. If it is a place that you would like to return to, I would check with the manager either in person or over the phone to verify the policy and then you can decide if you want to continue to patronize them.
There is always the possibility that it was the server's policy rather than the restaurant's. Either way for me personally, that would be off putting and I would not be returning.
A few places I used to work at had the rounding up/down policy, but change would always been given in the customer's favor - may cost the server a dollar or so per day, but it's worth it in good will. Maybe this was a management policy that affects the server's income and that was her way of protesting? Which doesn't make it right, but may be the reasoning behind it.
It's not common, but we've had a few threads on it in the past, which got heated. I would say that the majority opinion is that restaurants are needlessly buying ill will, unless the rounding is always in the customer's favor.
I've encountered this just a handful of times (places rounding, not in my favor) and received the same sort of unconcerned reply colored with the insinuation I was incredibly cheap to have noticed.
I don't care for it and it seems stupid to create a policy which has the affect of loosing you repeat business. With friends splitting bills we often round up or down for convenience knowing it evens out over time. With a business I expect business like behavior - if I don't want the change I can decide what to do with it, thank you very much.
Once in a while I receive just bills back, with the change rounded up in my favor. I have always assumed it is the servers decision to save themselves time and create good will. The "windfall" always gets added back into the tip.