The reason for restaurant rip-offs
In London, there is a huge number of tourists every day.
There are also a huge number of enterprises that prey on tourists being a one-off opportunity to extract the maximum amount of money.
To that end, they will use any number of deceptive practices. They do so safe in the knowledge that the guests won't come back anyway, and certainly won't take the issue to Trading Standards (same as the Better Business Bureau in the USA). And if you don't play along, a minority of them won't be above bullying or threatening you after your meal!
Rag on the restaurant, not the waitress
So, the restaurant sucks. That doesn't mean it's your waitress' fault, so be nice to her. If she's given you a good service, thank her and give her a good tip. Then ask to see the manager.
The waitress isn't responsible for the restaurant's policies. Or the enforcement of them. That's the manager's responsibility and he will have to deal with irate customers.
Quite a number of commenters at Customers Suck seemed to think I advocated against tipping the waitress. That's not the case. But I'd really rather not 'tip' the restaurant and then the waitress as well. Especially not in those instances when the service was very poor.
And I'm not alone in despising the practice of the restaurant setting the tip amount. I'll decide what the service is worth, thank you.
Hidden prices are deceptive prices
When a restaurant resorts to 'explaining' their prices with an asterisk or a footnote, the menu is deceptive. Would you look over all the fine print when ordering your meal? Really?
Most guests wouldn't, and they deserve being treated fairly.
Deception is bad business
Naturally, the people most upset over at Customers Suck are wait staff or restaurant managers. And I'm sure they're working at nice, respectable restaurants that don't employ any of the tactics in my article. Their places of business will rely on repeat trade from happy customers and go to great lengths to treat guests fairly.
Those restaurants are not the ones I'm outing.
Rip-off places don't count on you ever coming back. They don't care about you. So why would you care about them?
Causing a scene after explaining how you're unhappy with the restaurant's attempt to deceive you and not getting a reasonable response, is the only logical course of action. Calling the police will not only keep you there for much longer, but also ruin your evening out. Shopping them to Trading Standards won't help you get your money back, just try collecting from your home in Copenhagen.
Attempting to deceive your customers is highly unethical, and if you run your business that way, you deserve bankruptcy. Conversely, if you run a nice business, you deserve success.
So if you're being ripped off by a restaurant, make sure you get the result you want. Or you'll just make the problem worse for the next poor sap that comes along.
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