Here’s a novel concept: instead of deliberately misrepresenting the true cost of a meal why don’t restaurants try putting its ‘real’ price on a menu? Instead of forcing diners to perform complicated mental calculations after they have eaten a meal why not simply add the 20% ‘service’ charge to the price on the menu so that we all know what we are really paying for before we order it? Instead of forcing diners to give money to underpaid waiting staff on top of the meal they have just paid for, why not pay the waiting staff a proper wage and simply incorporate this into the price of the food described on the menu?
In other words, why don’t we dispense with the ridiculous service charge culture that we are all forced to adhere to whenever we sit down at a table in a restaurant?
It ain’t going to happen of course. Ever. Because if restaurants printed the true cost of their food on their menus punters might be a little less inclined to eat that food. And if restaurants paid their staff a decent wage the prices on their menus might prove a little too steep for most people.
And so the system is perpetuated: we go into a restaurant, choose from a menu that wilfully seeks to trick customers, get the bill and if it has not already been automatically added are to forced to work out a 20-25% surcharge, and we are served by staff who can often turn nasty if they don’t receive this surcharge.
It’s madness to my mind. But it’s never gonna change.