Diners call out 'shameless service charge' on restaurant bill, sparking debate online

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By stefan armitage

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Diners have taken to social media to call out a "shameless" service charge on their bill after enjoying a meal at a restaurant.

Sharing a photo of their bill to Reddit, the post was titled: "Shameless services charge and no notification on the menu in font half the size."

According to News.com.au, the group had dined out at a trendy restaurant in Sydney, Australia, but were left rather stumped when they received their bill at the end of their meal.

After being charged a subtotal of $480, the restaurant added a 10% service charge of $48 - bringing the total for the meal to $528.

In additional comments on the post, the Redditor who shared the bill claimed that it was a group of five people who had dined out, with the restaurant's website detailing that "bookings for 7 or more guests will incur a 10% discretionary service charge."

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Credit: Paul Kingsley / Alamy (Stock photo)

When other social media users asked why the group didn't question the additional charge, the OP (original poster) replied: "I was going to ask but it was very hard to get the staff attention and the staff could not hear anything over the music. But WHY put it in 1/3 size font?"

However, many of the comments shifted to the prerequisite of service charge policies in restaurants.

For those who are unaware, some restaurants will add a service charge to a customer's bill as a fee for the services received throughout the meal.

It is often outlined on the business' menu or website, and can either be purely discretionary or enforced for groups of a certain size.

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Credit: Stefan Dahl Langstrup / Alamy (Stock photo)

But the process is certainly a contentious issue, judging from the post's comments.

"Are the 'service charges' just a non-optional rebranding of tipping? Like, I was under the impression that the cost of service was included in the price of the food, and was thus why we don't tip in Australia... but everyone and their dog seems to be doing it lately", one person commented.

A second added: "You’d think that service would be part of the price."

"Need to stamp this out. It’s not on and not okay," a third added.

And a fourth argued: "What's the logic here? Bring a huge amount of business to us and we'll charge you an extra 10% for the privilege?"

Nevertheless, there were several people who defended the additional fee, with one person listing the reasons why some restaurants feel like they need to add a service charge to large groups.

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Credit: Karstu Photography / Alamy (Stock photo)

They start by explaining: "Larger groups tend to stay for longer, while ordering about the same amount per person, meaning the space that could be given to another party is held up.

The Redditor adds that large groups hinder the restaurant's ability to stagger the orders for the kitchen: "A large party will order all at once, which means the kitchen gets slammed and other tables have to wait longer. Depending on the venue if you book for a large party they may bring on an extra hand to help out with this," they write.

They write that "a single large table takes up a LOT of a single waiter/server's time", meaning the restaurant may need to have an additional server on for the evening.

The Redditor finally argued that "often places won't have tables set up for parties of this size so have to move tables together, which involves ensuring there are enough tables cleared at least 15 minutes prior to the booking, and then have to break the tables up again once they leave. This, again, means less turnover."

Featured image credit: christopher jones / Alamy

Diners call out 'shameless service charge' on restaurant bill, sparking debate online

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

Diners have taken to social media to call out a "shameless" service charge on their bill after enjoying a meal at a restaurant.

Sharing a photo of their bill to Reddit, the post was titled: "Shameless services charge and no notification on the menu in font half the size."

According to News.com.au, the group had dined out at a trendy restaurant in Sydney, Australia, but were left rather stumped when they received their bill at the end of their meal.

After being charged a subtotal of $480, the restaurant added a 10% service charge of $48 - bringing the total for the meal to $528.

In additional comments on the post, the Redditor who shared the bill claimed that it was a group of five people who had dined out, with the restaurant's website detailing that "bookings for 7 or more guests will incur a 10% discretionary service charge."

size-large wp-image-1263172502
Credit: Paul Kingsley / Alamy (Stock photo)

When other social media users asked why the group didn't question the additional charge, the OP (original poster) replied: "I was going to ask but it was very hard to get the staff attention and the staff could not hear anything over the music. But WHY put it in 1/3 size font?"

However, many of the comments shifted to the prerequisite of service charge policies in restaurants.

For those who are unaware, some restaurants will add a service charge to a customer's bill as a fee for the services received throughout the meal.

It is often outlined on the business' menu or website, and can either be purely discretionary or enforced for groups of a certain size.

size-large wp-image-1263172504
Credit: Stefan Dahl Langstrup / Alamy (Stock photo)

But the process is certainly a contentious issue, judging from the post's comments.

"Are the 'service charges' just a non-optional rebranding of tipping? Like, I was under the impression that the cost of service was included in the price of the food, and was thus why we don't tip in Australia... but everyone and their dog seems to be doing it lately", one person commented.

A second added: "You’d think that service would be part of the price."

"Need to stamp this out. It’s not on and not okay," a third added.

And a fourth argued: "What's the logic here? Bring a huge amount of business to us and we'll charge you an extra 10% for the privilege?"

Nevertheless, there were several people who defended the additional fee, with one person listing the reasons why some restaurants feel like they need to add a service charge to large groups.

size-large wp-image-1263172503
Credit: Karstu Photography / Alamy (Stock photo)

They start by explaining: "Larger groups tend to stay for longer, while ordering about the same amount per person, meaning the space that could be given to another party is held up.

The Redditor adds that large groups hinder the restaurant's ability to stagger the orders for the kitchen: "A large party will order all at once, which means the kitchen gets slammed and other tables have to wait longer. Depending on the venue if you book for a large party they may bring on an extra hand to help out with this," they write.

They write that "a single large table takes up a LOT of a single waiter/server's time", meaning the restaurant may need to have an additional server on for the evening.

The Redditor finally argued that "often places won't have tables set up for parties of this size so have to move tables together, which involves ensuring there are enough tables cleared at least 15 minutes prior to the booking, and then have to break the tables up again once they leave. This, again, means less turnover."

Featured image credit: christopher jones / Alamy