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Pizza "service" charge in dining room

eamcd Sep 29, 2012 04:10 PM

We're researching places for an elderly relatives birthday dinner out with family. In looking up the suggested places (trying to find something to meet a range of tastes and ages), I came across this on a pizzeria;/restaurant menu.

They have a $3 additional charge "per pie" for "pizza service" in the dining room. So if a large pizza is $13 on the menu, it will be $16 in the dining room.

From the look of the pictures on their Web site, there's a casual pizzeria side (basic booths) and a separate dining room with table cloths, etc.

Here in NJ there are plenty of such places, and we've done large group gatherings at several (on the other side of the family, in a different part of the state).

But I don't think I've ever seen a charge (no less per pizza) for "service" to the dining room. And we've certainly ordered pizza for some of the group (especially kids) while others had full dinners.

Anyone else run into this?

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  1. olyolyy RE: eamcd Sep 29, 2012 04:37 PM

    I've never seen it but it seems reasonable.

    4 Replies
    1. re: olyolyy
      PotatoHouse RE: olyolyy Sep 29, 2012 04:43 PM

      A 27% "dinning room service charge" seems reasonable??

      1. re: PotatoHouse
        olyolyy RE: PotatoHouse Sep 29, 2012 04:53 PM

        Under the circumstances described...yes. Otherwise, save $3 per pizza and sit in the booths.

        1. re: PotatoHouse
          ferret RE: PotatoHouse Oct 3, 2012 12:43 PM

          It's $3, it's not like they're tacking 27% to a $200 tab. The healthier way to view it is that they give you a $3 discount if you order take out. Either way you're getting worked up over nothing much.

        2. re: olyolyy
          Bill Hunt RE: olyolyy Oct 5, 2012 07:29 PM

          I agree. If I want it delivered to me, so that I do not have change out of my "jammies," I'd gladly pay that US $ 3.00 service charge. Heck, depending on the hotel, I might even get a flower in a vase?

          I am in.


        3. e
          escondido123 RE: eamcd Sep 29, 2012 06:01 PM

          Yes, I've eaten at places where food prices were more in the restaurant than in the separate bar/lounge.

          1. Quine RE: eamcd Sep 29, 2012 06:40 PM

            I am from NJ, still there in fact, but have also lived in NY and MA. I've never seen this. I would not like it if I did. My current Pizza place does have a separate dining room, with an expanded menu, but a pizza is a pizza, and there is no over charge for taking it to go, to eat in the pizza area or in the dining room. Sorta sounds like a service charge added on, which would then mean you shouldn't tip? But that seems unfair.
            It would steer me away from the place, bad vibe.

            1. f
              FriedClamFanatic RE: eamcd Sep 29, 2012 07:45 PM

              I think it is poor PR

              But...if you like the place and the $16 charge for the pizza is what you want, so be it

              as to the wait person...they ARE the company.you don't like it........let them AND the owners know

              1 Reply
              1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                EWSflash RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 8, 2012 08:43 PM

                I think it's poor PR, too. But given that the staff has to pay more attention to the diners and clean up after the diners, i guess it makes sense in kind of a gredy sort of way.

              2. s
                staughton RE: eamcd Sep 30, 2012 06:50 AM

                Never heard of this. I lived in NYC from '99 - '07 and had more than my share of pizza in NY and NJ. Sounds to me like they're just trying to discourage pie-eating in the more formal dining room.

                4 Replies
                1. re: staughton
                  escondido123 RE: staughton Sep 30, 2012 12:35 PM

                  I think you've hit on it....akin to the service charge for bringing in your own birthday cake.

                  1. re: staughton
                    pamf RE: staughton Sep 30, 2012 01:24 PM

                    I have also seen places that have small/inexpensive items on the bar menu, but don't allow you to order items from the bar menu if you are seated in the main dining room. If you are taking up a table in the main room, they want you to order a full meal.

                    1. re: pamf
                      julesrules RE: pamf Oct 3, 2012 10:02 AM

                      Yes and I personally don't have a problem with it. Hey, having pizza? Consider having it in our more casual dining area, at a discount! But if you're looking to host a nice dinner party, we have lots of options in our formal area, including pizza at full price ;)
                      Now, I think a smart business owner hosting a big birthday party with lots of full meals and wine ordered might consider dropping the charge for a couple of kids who have pizza. Do they have a kids' menu?

                      1. re: julesrules
                        hill food RE: julesrules Oct 3, 2012 10:07 PM

                        yes a better way of putting it would be to do the reverse, don't jack the price for the main room, but rather offer it as a 'discount' of sorts in the booth area. this would still raise questions and I don't really see the point, but...

                        in the casual area just slap a disc on the table at that rate and in the formal bring it in carefully on a stand at a higher - showtime. or only serve 'personal size' ones at a higher price point in the dining room. just don't share menus.

                        it sounds like management is causing more issues than it or the customers need/want that are easily avoided.

                  2. jrvedivici RE: eamcd Oct 3, 2012 01:48 PM

                    Yes this is common and I completely understand this and will do my best to make this understandable for those who don’t get it.

                    As the original poster already mentioned there are table clothes in the main dining room. Linen costs additional money to clean….in addition table service in the dining probably comes with water….although cheap water costs a restaurant to provide as does the ice to keep the water cold….as does the soap and water to clean the water glass. All of these add up…now if they are charging $13. for a large pie that can feed between 2-3 adults. So you are looking at a meal for between $4.33 - $6.50 per person for 2-3 adults. Even with pizza that isn’t a very high profit margin to work with so if you eat in the dining room and you are using the linen, drinking the water AND taking up 2,3,4, seats that could be going to people who are going to be spending $10,11,12+ per meal it only makes sense the restaurant has to make up a little bit of the extra expense it costs them for you to sit there.

                    If there weren’t plain booths for you to eat your pizza at I would totally agree….but if you’re opting for the linen etc. then you pay a little extra because it is costing the establishment extra and they aren’t making a large spread on the pie.

                    Make sense now?

                    1. j
                      josephnl RE: eamcd Oct 3, 2012 09:50 PM

                      Where we live in southern CA, it's quite common for restaurants to have separate bar menus which only apply to persons who wish to dine in the bar/lounge area. In fact, one of our favorites serves rather nice pizzas in the bar, and these do not even appear on the dining room menu. I doubt that they would even serve the pizza in the dining room (or any of the other bar menu or special happy hour items) for that matter. This seems perfectly reasonable to me...and if they were to make an exception to accommodate a special request, I think it would be perfectly reasonable to apply an upcharge.

                      1. p
                        Puffin3 RE: eamcd Oct 8, 2012 07:54 AM

                        Stay home. Put the money into pizza ingredients. Gather those old family slides everyone has and put on a slide show. Just a thought. Your elderly relatives will remember that special occasion more than going to any restaurant. I just lost an elderly aunt and a cousin last week. I wish I'd had a slide show at home with them last month. :(

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Puffin3
                          meatn3 RE: Puffin3 Oct 8, 2012 07:16 PM

                          My condolences Puffin...

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