I went to a favorite local restaurant (Hugo’s Restaurant in Valley Village) earlier this month for brunch and was stunned by what I saw on the payment tablet and on my receipt. Things had already gone wonky because I had ordered a sparkling wine split ($12), but a server brought a carafe of orange juice for a mimosa. I had not ordered a mimosa ($15), so I did not touch the orange juice. The server also brought my friend orange juice for a mimosa, but she had ordered a hibiscus. So we had to contact our main server and ask for the correct type of juice.
Of course the restaurant charged me the 3 extra dollars for the mimosa I didn’t order, so I told the server that the charge needed to be adjusted. Nowhere on the bill did it say anything about any hidden surcharges. Then the server returned with the tablet so she could run my card. The three choices on the tablet screen for tip were 20%, 22%, and 25%. The highlighted, default tip amount was 22%. That already upset me.
Don’t get me wrong, I consistently tip at least 20%, but I didn’t like how tricky and presumptive the restaurant was. Most restaurants have suggested tip percentages of 15%, 18% and 20%. For them to have 22% as the default is sneaky and wrong. In fact, because I was upset about that, I left 20%, not 22% and certainly not 25%, on principle.
Then I got my printed receipt and noticed that the restaurant had charged a 3% surcharge for back of room staff. This was added to the total amount which meant that the tip I left was reflective of the entire bill which included that 3% surcharge. On the bottom of the receipt I saw a note that a patron can have the 3% surcharge removed by letting the restaurant know, but I had ALREADY BEEN CHARGED. I doubt anyone actually complains and gets that surcharge removed. Another greedy win for the restaurant.
Lastly, the receipt had suggested ADDITIONAL tip amounts of 2% to 7%.
I’m not sure I want to frequent this restaurant in the future now.