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Restaurant sparks outrage after adding 18% service charge for ‘parties of 1’ or more

Claire Reid

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Restaurant sparks outrage after adding 18% service charge for ‘parties of 1’ or more

Featured Image Credit: Reddit/TRTL2k / Westend61/Getty

A restaurant in California has sparked a lively debate after it was revealed it adds an 18 percent service charge on ‘parties of one or larger’.

A customer who dined at the Vietnamese restaurant shared a snap of his receipt - which totalled $49.50 before taxes and service charge brought up the price up to $62.93.

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At the bottom of the bill a note reads: “18.00% Service Charge Included. For parties of one or larger, a 18.00% gratuity is applied automatically. If you have any questions, please speak with a manager.”

The diner shared the receipt on the ‘Mildly infuriating’ subreddit, writing: “This restaurants has an automatic 18% service charge for parties of ONE or higher.

“I’ve seen restaurants include gratuity when it’s a large party but never for parties of one!”

And the post seems to have triggered a lot of people, with one Reddit user writing: “I would refuse to pay until they take it off. This is illegal if they did not disclose it up front. Once they take the charge off, leave no tip and pay the tab and never return again.”

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Another said: “No better way of saying, ‘we definitely do not pay our workers enough’.”

The bill has a 18 percent service charge for all customers. Credit: Reddit/TRTL2k
The bill has a 18 percent service charge for all customers. Credit: Reddit/TRTL2k

A third asked: “Did you ask to speak to manager and explain to them to enjoy the $8, you will never be returning again?”

While someone else suggested: “Just leave them a one star review on Google. I did that after getting a huge gratuity added to my bill without my knowledge.

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“The owner responded and was extremely upset. He mentioned that ‘every restaurant around here does that’. Which somehow makes it ok?”

A fifth person pointed out: “Seems like raising prices by 18 percent across the board would solve this issue without enraging everyone quite as much.”

A fellow Reddit user said: “My brain has an automatic ‘never go there again’ setting when I read something like that.”

The service charge has sparked debate online. Credit: Pexels/Karolina Grabowska
The service charge has sparked debate online. Credit: Pexels/Karolina Grabowska
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Meanwhile, plenty of other folks claimed that something similar had happened to them when dining out.

On the other side of the coin, a couple in Chicago recently opened a restaurant with a strict ‘no service charge’ rule.

Vinod Kalathil and his wife, Margaret Pak, are the proud owners of Thattu, which has no service charge and customers are not expected to tip.

In an interview with Business Insider, Vinod explained: “We don't charge our customers a service fee or expect them to leave tips. So, our prices are about 15 to 20 percent higher than they'd be if we were adding those charges onto the bill.”

Topics: News, Money, Reddit, Food and Drink

Claire Reid
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