Which Restaurant Surcharges Burn the Most?

Categories: Complaint Desk

raw-steak.gif
Oh, I'm sorry, you wanted that cooked?
When was the last time you decided to split an entree with your date because you weren't that hungry, only to find a split plate charge on your bill? Or how about a fee for the sauce you chose after you'd already committed to a $50 steak? CNN's Eatocracy is calling into question the potentially superfluous charges restaurants use to erode our finances. Some of them will have you looking more closely at your bill.

The split plate charge is actually a fair one, provided you're told about it in advance and the dish is actually divided between two plates. Lots of restaurants do this and then toss in more french fries or steamed vegetables to pad out each plate, so you should expect to pay more when you get more. Other charges mentioned in the list seem more dubious.

Like a fee for split checks. With the advent of modern point of sales systems, bitching about split checks should be a thing of the past. The computer takes care of all of the guess work and besides, when diners pay individually, the aggregate tip for the table tends to be higher. (We like to round up.) But apparently some restaurants take issue with the processing fees incurred from running multiple cards. Perhaps we could return to the days of wampum or bartering with mittens, instead?

That disc of melting compound butter on top of your high-priced porterhouse in New York City can carry a charge at some restaurants, too. It makes me wonder how Texans would react to a surcharge for the gravy served with their chicken-fried steak. Babe's would go down in flames.

Water is becoming a place to pad checks too. I'm still steamed about the $9 bottle of water I accidentally purchased while dining at Five Sixty. But the advent of in-house filtration systems are leading to some more dubious behaviors. Should you be charged for tap water that's run through a filtration machine? Should you be charged for water that's not?

If the cronut can make its way down to Dallas from NYC, these charges could as well. Watch your dining bills, or you could end up paying for restaurant services you incorrectly assumed you were entitled to.


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52 comments
DeeKemp
DeeKemp

Was actually charged $0.25 per tortilla at Matt's in Lakewood.  Seems like something that may fly outside of Texas, but pretty ridiculous in the heart of Tex Mex country.

Rose Roswitha Beshears
Rose Roswitha Beshears

charge for an extra emty! plate for mynhubby, he had surgery and can eat only half a cup, besides - the meal was a large portion anyways #bavariangrill

Joni Espinoza
Joni Espinoza

Having to pay for chips and hot sauce at a Mexican restaurant...

Shannon Andjude
Shannon Andjude

I paid $4 extra for 3 tortillas at a Mexican restaurant in FL (they weren't homemade either)! never in my life! Ordered fajitas for 2 and they served them with just 3 tortillas!

Jon Pitt
Jon Pitt

Sides when you are ordering a $40.00 steak

Michael TruckMonth Ricker
Michael TruckMonth Ricker

One time my friends and I got water at a Chinese restaurant in Colorado and they charged for drinks which pissed me off. Then I was the only one pissed off which pissed me off even more.

Carol Jones Morrissey
Carol Jones Morrissey

This wasn't in Dallas, or even in Texas, and I'm not sure you can call Dairy Queen a restaurant, but I actually laughed when I was charged an additional $.17 for MUSTARD on my burger.

Justin Cade Gilbert
Justin Cade Gilbert

I've been charged for the full price of fajitas, without the meat. $14 for cooked peppers and onions, wtf.

JustSaying
JustSaying

I think that my head might explode if I got a bill and they charged me for fucking tap water. Hell, I have nearly had an aneurysm a few times when the bill came and I discovered the hard way that there were no free refills on iced tea or diet coke. I tend to drink a metric shit ton when I eat.

Heather Rutledge
Heather Rutledge

Being charged for jalapeños at a Mexican restaurant. I understand a burger place or any other type of restaurant where jalapeños are not a common request. They don't buy them in as large a quantity. If Taco Cabana and Taco Bell can give you all the jalapeños you can stand, I think a Tex Mex restaurant can afford the small 10-12 slices they give me. Especially since they are ok with you eating all the chips and salsa you can stand. Also charging for a To Go cup for your drink. I have already paid you 2.99 for something that costs you pennies.

Anthony Muelle
Anthony Muelle

When they charge for bread or they ask "would you like a salad with that?" as if it were part of the meal, but charge you extra for it.

Valerie Lundberg
Valerie Lundberg

ROUNDING. Nothing ticks me off more than a place that rounds up your bill. Sure, it isn't much - but it's the principle behind it.

Christian Vallejo
Christian Vallejo

3 people per hooka, any extra person 5 bucks, and a fee for BYOB. at the Peace Pipe. last time i was calculating my bill to be around 20 dollars but they charged me 42. pretty expensive cheap date.

Matt A Hale
Matt A Hale

Who the help charges for water? I personally hate automatic gratuity for large groups.

Kevin E. Bosquez
Kevin E. Bosquez

I wouldn't be opposed to paying a small amount ($1 no more) for water. You don't get free water at home and the restaurant has a water bill too.

foodbiatch
foodbiatch

Bottled soda gets me every time. It's not charming, and I don't want to buy three of them at $3 each. I'm looking at you, Battuto.

welcome1
welcome1

charged for 1 ounce of dipping extra sauce, $9 beers, chips, not salsa, $15 @ byob for a Tiny bucket of ice

Sonya Kuris
Sonya Kuris

Agreed- water! Also, some places charge for brown rice as a sub for white. Wtf?

jsswinburn
jsswinburn

It peeves me when I get charged 50 or 75 cents or more for jalapeños for my burger or CFS.  They're charging for a condiment!  I buy pickeled jalapeños by the gallon for less than $4.  And the charges for tea are astronomical, too, considering the actual cost of tea; I now just ask for water (though I'd be willing to pay a bit for water...it's a hell of a lot more scarce than most of us seem to think).  But I pay for the jalapeños because I must have my staples.

Greg820
Greg820

Oh my, where to start. . . .

Split plate fee, no problem as long as it is on two separate plates.

Split check fee, you must be joking. This is such a common occurrence, yet so many restaurants and servers act like they have never split a check before. There is device called a calculator for doing basic math and I should not have to pay for its’ use. Now then, the server could ***ask beforehand*** if the party is splitting checks, especially with large groups, but they never seem to do that. And if you don’t ask, then don’t get that put-upon look when we ask you to split it up. I have noticed that most mid-fine dining establishments have much less attitude about this than in the past.

I don’t mind paying for filtered water as long as the price is listed on the menu or mentioned at the table.  Which leads to. . .

Off menu charges. If you are charging me for something it had better be on the menu. Daily specials I can understand not being on the menu (I want to hear the price during the description, though), but miscellaneous charges for bread, water, etc that are always available had better be there. And, frankly, any place that tries to hide charges does not deserve your business. It makes me wonder what they are hiding in the kitchen.

dustinmota
dustinmota

sour cream and gucamole but for just a little more after they do it..

HijoDelSol
HijoDelSol

If I know about check splitting fee in advance, I don't have a problem with it, though some places (especially in NYC) charge almost as much for the plate split as the plate.

What kills me the most is paying $5 for a mini bar sized bottle of Diet Coke.  I am already paying $50 for the steak, so for $5 you can get me a refill or two.


elenaran
elenaran

exorbitant corking fees.

If you charge more than $3-5 for corking, you're not a true BYOB restaurant. Some restaurants which bill themselves as "BYOB" charge upwards of $10-12 for a corking fee.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

I dont mind the shared plate fee, as you said, they generally pad the plate with the sides.  I mostly dont mind the split check fee, I understand the need to cover the cost of running 6-8 cards for 1 table as opposed to one, but the fee shouldn't exceed the cost incurred by the restaurant, whether they pay a % of the transaction or a flat fee per trans.  What irks the shit out of me is charging for the one refill of soda I had with my meal.  You already mark that shit up 300%, giving even 1 free refill wont hurt.  Charging for tap water is a joke

Jake_Stone
Jake_Stone

"If the cronut can make it is way down to Dallas from NYC...."

What does that mean?

scott.reitz
scott.reitz moderator

@NewsDog No, CNN's article was the inspiration -- the one I linked to at the top of this post.

casiepierce
casiepierce

@HijoDelSol Hmmm..... maybe you deserve that $5 diet coke charge if that's your beverage of choice with a $50 steak.....

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@Jake_Stone 

It means we're in for big trouble, Myrna was just a harbinger of things to come . . .

"It came From NYC"    *eerie music swells*

jsswinburn
jsswinburn

@casiepierce @jsswinburn Good point; let me clarify.  I would be willing to pay a little for water and just a tad more for tea.  $2.50 a glass for tea, even with "free refills" is absurd.  Says me, anyway.


ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@jsswinburn @casiepierce yes, considering the water cost him a penny on his water bill and the tea bags were what a $1 total for the whole vat of tea.  I retract my coke statement about being the biggest markup, it has to be tea

casiepierce
casiepierce

@Joshisbackonthecopenhagen If I had a dime for every time I have ever read that very comment on every blog everywhere, I'd probably have enough to buy the West Texas water rights from Boone Pickens. 


The point is, he's complaining about the price of tea, but what does he think it's made of? Old mining slag? Fracking chemicals?

JustSaying
JustSaying

@TheCredibleHulk  I experience corkage every time I take too many painkillers. I'll never understand how someone taking them recreationally could ever become addicted to something with such an awful side effect.

casiepierce
casiepierce

@Twinwillow @elenaran Hm, well if they already have a wine list, then I can understand that. If we're talking about a restaurant with no alcohol license, then no.

Twinwillow
Twinwillow

@elenaran @Twinwillow Not really. They have an extensive wine list but will allow you to bring in your own bottle for a $35.00 corkage fee. It's not listed on their website, though.

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