Surprising new charges at restaurants – and some oldies as well

Peter Holland 16 June 2008 135

Talking to a mate today, he told me that he got slugged at a restaurant at a birthday party for the following charges:

Corkage – an oldie but still around

Cakeage – What the?? it is a cake, you get a knife, you cut it. Not really haute cuisine…

Service Charge – apparently similar to an american “tip”

Cancellation charge – one member of his party cancelled, cost him, wait for it….. $29.00!

His reaction to these charges, never go back to that restaurant, which he wouldn’t tell me the name of, priceless.

have you heard of these charges or other new ones that seem a bit over the top?


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135 Responses to Surprising new charges at restaurants – and some oldies as well
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enrique enrique 6:45 pm 16 Jun 08

In response to the personal attacks directed at me by mouthface and ulyssesSB – it’s just a conversation, I’m not having a go at either of you – don’t take it to heart…

Perhaps this may help…

http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&q=how+to+debate&btnG=Search&meta=

shauno shauno 6:42 pm 16 Jun 08

Its a pretty simple arrangement in Singapore the service charges are included in the bill. A lot of the time if you try and give them a tip they will just give the money back to you.

enrique enrique 6:39 pm 16 Jun 08

mouthface said :

Just to turn that argument on its head… the reason diners take their own cake is their scabbiness. Why don’t they get the restaurant to organise a cake for them? Because they are cheapskates, that’s why! They would rather find some cheap cake somewhere, burden themselves with the hassle of bringing it along to the restaurant, and then they let the cakeage charge ruin their night because they are too tight to pay the extra couple of bucks each to cover it. What a mean bunch of scabby buggers they must be. I for one would never take a store bought cake along to a restaurant, and then carry on like a goose for a couple of bucks, I would be too embarrassed. And if I was on a budget, I would do something at home.

And what would you do if you were the nice type of person that wanted to put in a big effort for someone and make a cake for them that was their favourite?

mouthface mouthface 5:58 pm 16 Jun 08

This guy must be the type that argues over sixty cents with his friends because he only had one piece of garlic bread…

ulyssesSB ulyssesSB 5:53 pm 16 Jun 08

enrique said :

Mate, the reason is perfectly clear – it’s an opportunity for a greedy operater to make a few more bucks. I’ve worked in restaurants and from all accounts happy customers, repeat business, and good reviews (including on the-riotact) are worth much much more then the few measly dollars you get from fri$%in cakeage! It’s pure economics and customer relations man.

If it’s a few measly dollars to you then get the hell over it. Last time I checked, economics did not take into account customers appreciation for a free service – That’s called a favour.

mouthface mouthface 5:49 pm 16 Jun 08

enrique said :

mouthface said :

@enrique

By that rationale, maybe you should be able to get a free gift from the jewellery store because your birthday is a special occasion…. what is it with these people?

Yep, that’s it. Spin a logical arguement into some fanciful story to further your cause… be my guest.

I have no cause you boofhead! YOu are just a scab.

AndyC AndyC 5:49 pm 16 Jun 08

Reminds me of a famous quote from a certain movie:

Mr. Pink: I don’t tip because society says I have to. All right, if someone deserves a tip, if they really put forth an effort, I’ll give them something a little something extra. But this tipping automatically, it’s for the birds. As far as I’m concerned, they’re just doing their job.
Mr. Blue: Hey, our girl was nice.
Mr. Pink: She was okay. She wasn’t anything special.

mouthface mouthface 5:48 pm 16 Jun 08

Just to turn that argument on its head… the reason diners take their own cake is their scabbiness. Why don’t they get the restaurant to organise a cake for them? Because they are cheapskates, that’s why! They would rather find some cheap cake somewhere, burden themselves with the hassle of bringing it along to the restaurant, and then they let the cakeage charge ruin their night because they are too tight to pay the extra couple of bucks each to cover it. What a mean bunch of scabby buggers they must be. I for one would never take a store bought cake along to a restaurant, and then carry on like a goose for a couple of bucks, I would be too embarrassed. And if I was on a budget, I would do something at home.

Special G Special G 5:42 pm 16 Jun 08

Corkage/Cakeage is a legitimate charge for bringing wine/cake into a resteraunt. Mind you it should be reasonable – small cake just for birthday person – charged for those who eat it and probably get the deserts ordered by everyone else.

Service charge – load of crap – tips are paid to good service.
Cancellation charge – load of crap.

enrique enrique 5:41 pm 16 Jun 08

mouthface said :

@enrique

By that rationale, maybe you should be able to get a free gift from the jewellery store because your birthday is a special occasion…. what is it with these people?

Yep, that’s it. Spin a logical arguement into some fanciful story to further your cause… be my guest.

mouthface mouthface 5:40 pm 16 Jun 08

@enrique again

I wonder what you do for a living? Please let me know so that I can hire you to do something for me and then not pay you (you won’t mind will you? Put it down to a PR exercise)

enrique enrique 5:40 pm 16 Jun 08

ulyssesSB said :

If you cannot understand the reason for such charges, you never will. Eat in, then you can complain about something other than service charges… golly!

Mate, the reason is perfectly clear – it’s an opportunity for a greedy operater to make a few more bucks. I’ve worked in restaurants and from all accounts happy customers, repeat business, and good reviews (including on the-riotact) are worth much much more then the few measly dollars you get from fri$%in cakeage! It’s pure economics and customer relations man.

mouthface mouthface 5:37 pm 16 Jun 08

@enrique

By that rationale, maybe you should be able to get a free gift from the jewellery store because your birthday is a special occasion…. what is it with these people?

enrique enrique 5:34 pm 16 Jun 08

Also, you’d think a restaurant should be happy that this larger then usual group (income source) has chosen it as the location for the celebration. Not only is it a good money spinner, it is a great P.R./marketing opportunity for the restaurant in terms of the group guests that may never have been/though of going there before.

ulyssesSB ulyssesSB 5:33 pm 16 Jun 08

If you cannot understand the reason for such charges, you never will. Eat in, then you can complain about something other than service charges… golly!

enrique enrique 5:28 pm 16 Jun 08

Primal – Bringing a cake is basically bringing your own dessert into the restaurant

Not really, birthday/special occasion cakes are a traditional part of Australian society/culture that only come out on the odd occasion.

If the reason you were bringing a cake was not related to a special occasion then I think it would be a dessert replacement – but stiffing someone just to let them use your restaurant’s knife and a few napkins is a bit rough.

ulyssesSB ulyssesSB 5:26 pm 16 Jun 08

As a restaurant operator, of course you deserve to be paid for things like cakaeage! It works on the exact same principles of corkage… If you don’t want to pay for these things, you cannot expect them to be done – simple isn’t it?

mouthface mouthface 5:19 pm 16 Jun 08

@mickymouse
What I would want as a restaurant owner is to be paid for my service! Why should a restaurant owner have to accept that they should firstly fill their restaurant up with a large booking, then have everyone in that booking get a free ride when it comes to dessert? It probably would be better for them to have their restaurant half full but that everyone pays top dollar. A very successful ‘fine dining’ operator once told me that what they love about fine dining is that they can make a much better profit from a few well paying customers rather than with a packed house of cheapskates. They can have less, and better, staff in the kitchen and on the floor and get a far higher per head return on their better paying diners. Tell me what would you prefer if you had a restaurant: 100 diners at $100 a head or 200 diners at $25 a head?

Clown Killer Clown Killer 5:18 pm 16 Jun 08

I think you’ve accurately summed up the economics of the ‘cakeage’ thing mickeymouse. I guess some will absorb those costs and some will seek to pass them on to the customer.

Corkage is a legitimate charge and will be levied by both BYO and fully licensed establishments.

More worrying is the arbitrary inclusion of a ‘service charge’ on the bill.

mickeymouse mickeymouse 5:04 pm 16 Jun 08

mouthface said :

Cakeage is a legitimate charge as is corkage, and anyone who refuses to pay it is a bit of a scab.
Why do people think they can walk into an establishment that already sells food (including dessert) and wine, bring their own and get served for free?

Could you imagine going to a tyre fitting place for example, bringing your own tyres and getting them fitted onto your car at no cost? I doubt it. Or maybe hiring an ironing lady and then not paying her because you own the clothes!

Remember this, the cake is stored for you while you have your dinner, it is usually brought out to you by smiling staff who even sing ‘Happy birthday’ without a hint of embarrassment, the cake is cut and served on their plates, with their cutlery and then the whole thing is taken away, the leftovers repacked, and plates and cutlery washed. Who does all this? Certainly not you!
If you don’t want to pay for this type of service, then just have your dinner party at home, otherwise pay up and shut up.

Nobody is disputing that there are costs involved in serving the BYO cake (including the potential loss of revenue), but most people expect the restaurant to absorb these costs for a large booking (such as a birthday dinner), especially since they are presumably making money from the starters, mains and drinks. Most restaurant owners accept that some customers are simply more costly to service than others. What would you want as a restaurant owner – a restaurant full of paying customers or a restaurant with a few tables of couples?

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