Kids Nutrition Program - ©

Sunday Musings: Desperate Measures For Desperate Times?

We’ve talked about the issues that can arise when desperate restaurateurs take desperate measures to keep from going bust in desperate times – especially fancy, sit-down joints. Now, it seems, more and more restos are courting diner outrage…

Toccoa Resto Menu - © 2023 ToccoaThe ‘fine print’ on the bottom of the menu at the Toccoa Riverside Restaurant in Georgia.
A nice place. But be really careful… Of just about anything you might say or do!

The ultimate case in point?

An angry Redditor recently posted a photo of the ‘Terms and Conditions’ printed at the bottom of a Georgia resto menu. In case you have trouble deciphering the messages in the photo, reproduced above, here’s a point-form rundown:

  • A mandatory ‘gratuity’ of 20 percent to be added to the bill for groups over 6.
  • A mandatory ‘gratuity’ of 20 percent to be added to the bill for issuing separate cheques.
  • A mandatory ‘gratuity’ of 20 percent to be added to the bill for ordering from the Birthday Menu.
  • A charge of $3 for sharing a menu item.
  • A ‘$$$’ surcharge for ‘Adults unable to parent’.
  • Menu prices apply only when you pay with cash. They charge 3.5  percent more when you pay with a credit or debit card.

And then there are these ‘house rules’:

  • Be respectful to staff, property and yourself. No respect, no service.
  • No store [outside] food permitted in dining room.

Those last two items aren’t really onerous. But most folks would consider them good old common sense. And I know I’d be insulted if I received that admonition from a business that was in business to serve me.

I won’t even get into a discussion of the $2.50 price for a smallish glass of fountain soda which costs less to make and serve than $0.20. That’s for another day, another rant…

Needless to say? The Reddit post went viral.

Just absurd? Or downright ridiculous?

One might just giggle at the surcharges and effronteries mandated at the Toccoa Riverside Restaurant. But commenters to the Reddit post were less forgiving:

“Extra charge for not using cash? 20 percent for separate checks and using the birthday menu? Yeah f**k this place.”

“For a 20 percent surcharge, the wait staff will sing, ‘happy birthday, fuck you’.”

“If I read this at [the bottom of a restaurant menu], I would probably leave. Charge for unruly kids and a ‘share charge $3’. Like who cares if I wanna share my food once I pay for it?”

“Gotta read an essay just to figure out how much you will be charged. Places like this can f**k right off.”

“It’s hard to imagine a waiter coming up and asking for extra money for any [of] that bullshit. It must start a lot of arguments in the restaurant.”

“Actual adults running a business decided to write this insipid shit on something they are going to hand to everyone who walks in the door. Amazing. ”

Then there was an unexpected clap-back suggestion:

“Oh well then the four of us are not together. We’d like four tables for one person each, please…”

And the ultimate Southerner’s insult:

“Well, bless your heart.”

That’s a polite way folks south of the Mason Dixon Line use in place of, “F**k you, too.”

Resto Operator Rage?

But this is just the latest viral extreme reaction by a resto operator to growing economic pressures. I’m calling it Resto Op Rage – just like Road Rage, but with a price list.

I sometimes wonder whether the resto ops who publish such silly rules realize they’re just driving away customers?

It would be bad enough of one resto reacted to stress the way the Toccoa Riverside did. But it’s becoming a worldwide epidemic.

Global outrage

Remember the story we covered about the tourist couple in Italy who were charged (E)1 for an extra spoon?

Another resto, Bar Pace in Gera Lario on Lake Como, reportedly charged a couple 2 Euros for cutting their sandwich in half. No surprise, another One-Star review at Trip Advisor resulted. “Unbelievable but true,” the review blared.

Just Google ‘restaurant surcharges’. When I did, I got 3.38 million returns. And the top (most relevant) ones reflect clearly the sentiments of diners and commenters presented above.

I have to wonder what the whole concept of restaurant dining is coming to. The Fast Food sector is in economic chaos as costs and menu prices soar. The higher-end restos are also going literally nutty, mandating crazy rules and surcharges.

The big question is…

Would you pass on a restaurant that loaded down its menu with Terms and Conditions like those at the Toccoa Riverside?

Would you feel insulted having the resto preach common sense, talking down to you?

Muse on that..

~ Maggie J.