In the second part of my series entitled “pedantry”, here’s a couple/three things that get me irritated whenever I go out…… followers of my musings working in the hospitality industry should take notice!

Gratuities

In my possibly very naive view of the world, I assume that the cost of staff is an overhead the establishment in question absorbs in the margin generated by its wares, so I am by default paying for an expected, or at least a satisfactory, level of service in the price of the dishes on the menu.

The logical extension of this is that a tip, or a gratuity, is added for better service, as an optional or discretionary reward to the staff in question. The operative words there are optional, discretionary, and reward….. so automatically adding it to a bill is somewhat presumptive. That makes it rude, really.

Anyway, I’ve been losing a battle on this over the years as more and more places add it automatically; although some deserve kudos for explicitly stating that the tips paid through this way go to the server (minus a declared processing fee which is fair enough). Thereafter, I do wonder whether or not the tips do truly go to the servers or not….. which is why I prefer to tip in cash directly. But then I have to go through a rigmarole of having the tip removed, which raises questions….. Quite a quandary, though to be fair it does make group logistics easier by removing mental arithmetic after a bottle of red.

But what really makes my blood boil is when the tip is added presumptively to the bill and then the credit card machine is handed to you with the prompt to add a tip…… so not only has the establishment presumed it has delivered service to a service worthy of a discretionary reward, it then has the gall to try and score twice!!!

Cheeseboards

Why are they so disproportionately expensive to puddings? Why do they command hefty supplements on set menus? Why are the resulting portions usually small? (And heaven forfend not at room temperature either). This seems to be a uniquely British trait; the differential (if any) on the continent is usually minimal.

I can’t believe the input costs of a cheese board are that disproportionately different to a pudding; a few good local cheeses will keep for a while refrigerated and I am pretty sure there’s some price / demand elasticity that would ensure a reduction in wastage if that’s the problem. I love cheese. It’s wonderful stuff. Such an eclectic array of varieties, and almost everywhere will have some good local ones to showcase. I’m not a massive pudding eater, but am usually put off cheese as an alternative by the cost – which isn’t to say its a matter of not affording it, but a matter of not wanting to be seemingly taken for a ride!. Grateful for anyone that may want to demonstrate the error in my ways.

Pre-Paid Restaurant Vouchers

GroupOn, Wowcher et al. All seemingly filled with offers for good restaurants. However, I have yet to figure out why you would pay in advance for a meal without a guarantee of a booking at a date and time you wanted….. when you can usually get the same sort of things on TopTable or BookaTable or even SquareMeal without the associated risks? I’m a firm believer of paying the ferryman once you are to the other side, so maybe this is just uniquely me being a cynical pedant.

And there we go. Blood pressure reduced until next time !

Tips for Restauranteurs (Part II)
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