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Mar 3, 2014 07:41 AM

Shady business practice?

Went to a locally owned Italian restaurant over the weekend. It's a reasonably nice place, not a "chicken parm 'n pizza" kind of joint. The place was packed, although we've been there at times when it was only half full (open less than a year, so maybe just slowly catching on). Anyhow, as we were seated and our waiter did the usual intro, he said "I'll give 10% off if you pay in cash". Found it kind of strange. Would you think that the restaurant is doing something "shady" with the cash (ie, keeping it off the books) or what?

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  1. I automatically assume it's a tax dodge. Does it stop me eating somewhere? Not usually.

    1. I would initially think he was trying to pad his tip, unless he was the owner.

      7 Replies
      1. re: coll

        Pad his tip by skimming some cash??? Tell me how you are coming up with that assumption? Just curious not confrontational.

        1. re: jrvedivici

          That if you saved 10% due to his suggestion, you might be inclined to leave an extra 2 or 3% to him for his helpfulness. I wasn't thinking about the cash angle exactly I guess.

          1. re: coll

            Ok fair enough, I would "fear" if I were the server though, that if I gave 10% off the check, the people would only tip on the discounted amount, rather than the full value. (This happens all too often). So based on my cynical nature, and experience on the general public's cheapness, I'm not sure that would work.

            1. re: jrvedivici

              Some are more optimistic than others! That's what makes the world go round.

        2. re: coll

          But if the restaurant isn't authorizing the discount, then the server is still responsible for turning in the full amount of the bill without the discount, so whatever extra could possibly be made in tips, is probably mostly lost in having to make up the 10% discount the server just gave and now has to pay the restaurant with his/her own money.

          1. re: SaraAshley

            This is a mystery to me. Still wondering if it was a server, or the owner maybe?

            1. re: coll

              Or an instruction to servers by the owner; that was my first thought.

        3. Yeah....they are doing something shady.......if you don't want to participate in it don't accept the 10% off and pay via credit card.

          Personally it's not my business what they are doing, and if I had the cash I would take the 10% discount and enjoy my meal. I think it's an individual decision, I for one am not without sin, so I'm not going pass judgement on them.

          1. I have been to places that offer a small percentage off for a cash transaction. I assume it has something to do with not paying a credit card fee? But those places had a sign or noted it on the menu- the way your waiter presented it seems a little odd.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Hobbert

              that was exactly my thought, I have seen it printed for all to view at other places, but the verbal offer seemed odd. Have no compunction about taking advantage of the offer, this particular visit we had to use CC anyhow.

              1. We've experienced this before in other small retail settings (not food related)...usually an 8-10% discount. We don't give it a second thought...but it's happened so infrequently to us (maybe twice in 12 years of marriage) that it barely bears mentioning.