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Feb 15, 2014 10:47 AM

Captain comp'd the drinks, asked for cash

Not really food-related, just curious about something. In a nice midtown neighborhood restaurant last week, myself and 3 co-workers, at end of meal the captain whispered to my boss he comp'd the wine & drinks, could you throw in some extra cash.

Sort of related - with my wife in New York over Christmas, at two different places the waiter left a cocktail/glass of wine off my bill. The second time I actually pointed it out to a secondary waiter who said, oh he knows what he's doing, its ok. Of course I took that to mean, throw in some extra $$$.

Just wondering how common this is and whether anyone has any opinions. And what do you do in this situation - ie if waiter omits a $15 cocktail, do you leave $15 in cash ?

Appreciate any insight.

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  1. I am sorry, but I would contact the management. It sounds to me like they have found a way to rip off the restaurant.

    2 Replies
    1. re: NE_Elaine

      Years ago, we frequented a local restaurant/bar and the bartender was fired for this reason. She would comp our drinks (and other regulars) all night. Top shelf stuff.

      We would leave her a substantial tip in appreciation. Cash of course. I can't remember how she worked the receipt thing.

      This went on for some time. Eventually, the owners discovered the massive amounts of liquor sales missing so, adios to her.

      At the time, we had no idea this sort of thing went on, so was surprised when she was gone. Until it was explained to us why. Can't understand how she figured she wouldn't get caught.

    2. Perhaps more benignly, the suggestion is that a tip should be based on full value? Similar to when you use a Groupon, tip should be based on bill without discount?

      1. i think it's fairly common to get comp'd a drink and be expected to tip more, but definitely not upwards of the same value.

        the situation you mentioned sounds fishy and i agree with Elaine. in no circumstance should anyone be asking you to throw in extra cash. it's one thing to be bought a drink and be made aware of it. it's unacceptable for a server to ask to be compensated for it.

        1. Elisa your point is appreciated and understood but if that were the practice the waiter would not omit the item from the bill, since the tip would be the same with the item on the bill or without. It follows, s/he is expecting *more* than the 15% (or 20%) tip.

          Elaine I agree there is theft going on, I guess I'm just wondering if anyone else has experienced this, how common a practice it might be (a first for me), etc.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ChillEDog

            Back in the 1980s, a friend's father owned a bunch of restaurants. The friend and her sister worked in one of them. Bartender told them about the scam they were running. Friend and sister wondered how the bartender thought they wouldn't tell their father. Bartender fired.

            Yeah, it happens.

          2. Comping a drink or two on a sizable bar bill is common is common and gets a server 20% or better... the situation you describe is theft... tell management.