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Things restaurants do to get more money out of you

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Going out for a meal and maybe a couple of drinks is a real treat and not the sort of thing that one can afford to do every night of the week.  But it would be even more of a treat if the restaurants, particularly the big chain ones weren't trying to squeeze every single drop of cash out of you.  We went to Las Iguanas recently and this is just an example of the kind of thing I'm talking about.  We've also experienced something similar at Frankie and Benny's for instance and probably many other places over the years that I've forgotten about.

It all begins the moment you walk through the door.  Assuming you haven't booked, and to be quite honest who would book on a Tuesday night in early January when so many places are actually very quiet anyway?  At this point you'll often be told that there's a half hour wait, but you can sit over here and perhaps order some drinks and some tapas.  Hmmm.  So why are all those tables up there on the opposite side from the window actually empty?  Perhaps a bus load of British tourists who have pre-booked are about to walk in and occupy the place.  Well they didn't and we didn't sit around ordering while we waited either.  We reserved our table there and then and walked out on the pretense of popping out for some cash.  In actual fact we went round the corner to the Wetherspoon pub and had a quiet drink whilst waiting for our table.

Prices on a menu in a restaurant - small font On the subject of drinks, that's one area in particular where restaurants are keen to sting your pocket.  Wine is more expensive and you'd expect that, but they also tend to crank up the prices of soft drinks too which I don't think is fair.  As for beer, which is usually bottled, you're lucky to get change from a fiver these days!  Some places do a 2 for 1 "offer" on jugs of cocktail, which sounds great at first until you check out the price of one jug.  Can't they just sell them at half price?  Who wants two jugs? (awaiting saucy comments on that one!)

By the way you're lucky if you can find the prices on the menu.  I've been to many restaurants where they actually try to hide them in any way the can.  For example sometimes they might use a much smaller font size for the price than used for the dish.  The photo shows a good example of this and although not completely hidden away, it's less easy to see and the fact that there isn't a pound sign next to the amount makes it even easier to miss!  It's only money after all!  I also remember being at a restaurant a few months ago that had an unusual way of writing the up prices.  Instead of a nice clear "£4.50" all we got was "4.5" in a very small font.  Some people perhaps have so much money they don't need to look at the price of things but I certainly don't.

Finally you've had your food and drink so you ask for the bill.  Now if the food and service has been good I'll usually leave a tip, but what I don't like is when paying by card being ASKED if I'd like to leave a tip.  I find that very presumptious and it's also embarrassing in a way if I enter zero because I intend to leave some cash.  Come to think of it.  These restaurants are charging enough so why can't they just pay their staff a decent wage in the first place!

As it happens Las Iguanas didn't take too much of our hard earned cash from us on this particular occasion.  To begin with we went away and came back when our table was ready.  We ordered a jug of water to go with our meal (no expensive cocktails) and my partner had found a 2 for 1 meal voucher online.  However we did leave a tip - despite the fact we didn't get our starter and the service was pretty slow!

By: Won't be ripped off!


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Cyclamen Cyborg MK4

Cyclamen Cyborg MK4

It's so annoying to eat out these days. I really like to eat out and since I am the one that does all of the cooking at home I consider it to be a treat and a night off. Trouble is, the food is always rubbish and overpriced. I don't enjoy myself properly as I'm always thinking about the bill at the end of the meal and how expensive it will be in comparison to what I could have cooked myself to a higher standard. Also, what is it with the wait staff approaching me to ask if everything is ok with my meal when I have just shoved a fork full of steak into my mouth LOL.
Cyclamen Cyborg MK4
28th Mar 18 12:54

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Charmbrights

Charmbrights

The mistake is to ask for the bill.

And for Deus Borealis:

Described on the sweet menu as "A hauntingly familiar vanilla sauce made from a recipe preserved through the dark ages in the monatery kitchens" tuned out to be ..
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custard.
Charmbrights
23rd Feb 16 16:49

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Grumpy xx

Grumpy xx

I stopped being an out-of-home foodie a while back. I've been in too many run of the mill eateries, each charging upward of £15 per meal -even more, in some cases, in some god awful chain restaurant group, and there are drinks on top to bump up the bill to £30 ish with tips etc, yet the results and experience are average or the food could be cooked at home far better and far more cheaply even if it is nice to taste. Now I don't waste my money on this kind of non-experience. If I go out to eat now, I would rather go to a coffee shop and spend less than a tenner on a snack or just to enjoy a well made coffee (I only drink filter at home) or save my pennies and eat out at more upmarket place where the food really skillfully prepared and the experience really special, even if there is a bigger hole in my credit card afterwards. Why bother with middle of the road when better or home-cooked will do.
Grumpy xx
29th Jan 16 21:59

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Deus Borealis

Deus Borealis

Most restaurants and so-called gastro-pubs nowadays serve up microwaved warmed up frozen foodstuffs. You know they have done this if you go round to their place earlier in the morning and look out for their delivery trucks seeing what is actually lifted into the pub/restaurant itself.

Indeed, when was the last time you actually had real mashed potatoes and not the powdered sort made up with water? Fish and Chips? Almost certain that this is neither cod not haddock, but a load of auld cobblers. These restaurants cheat us all by not declaring that this is what they have done.

Ploughman's lunch = stale bread with cheapo cheese.

Hamburger and chips = awful and inedible bread bun with cheapo warmed up frozen burger, yuk! Microwaved French fries, yuk!

Seasonal vegetables = Frozen veggie warmed up. Any season will do.

Thai food= Food cooked on Camping Gaz burner in spare room upstairs in pub by an immigrant with suspect papers.

Side salad = bowl of iceberg lettuce with a few slices from a tasteless and bright red, so-called "flavor-ripe" tomato, yuk!

Pannacotta, Tiramisu etc. = semi warmed up frozen desserts sold at a high margin for the restaurant.

Coffee = Italian Yuk! What has happened to real Cona coffee

You know that they have used frozen foods if there are more than 4 main meal items on the menu, and if the kitchen employs only one or two [unqualified] "chefs" in a kitchen of size less than a fifth of the dining floorspace. You know it if there has been a long delay between your order and its serving, because they had to defrost the foods.

Steak and ale pie = warmed up pie bought from Iceland.

Jug of gravy = This has not been made from the juices of a freshly roasted beastie, rather it has been made up from a powder created on the spot when required. Yuk!

A Maitre D' = Ponce who hangs around the doors of a failing restaurant which is in gross need of an injection of a large amount capital funds from its clientele to rescue it.

Barker = Someone who stands in the street outside of an establishment trying to entice you into a failed restaurant.

Michelin star = You can't afford this. Michelin recommendations were set up for the benefit of truck drivers in France wanting good meals when away from home. They were transport cafes. However Michelin starred restaurants have now gone up-market serving only people from the A-list. bah!!

If this is all they do I can do the same and better at home. I can melt my own foods. They are not employing real people with real skills, but only hicks and hillbillies, at a minimum wage off the streets. BAH!
Deus Borealis
27th Jan 16 12:54

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Hunger Strike

Hunger Strike

We were once several years ago [1984] invited by our friends to come Cornwall (200 miles away) to attend a birthday celebration in a brand new special restaurant that had just opened up in Newquay. We got there by 8pm, to be met by a poncy ill-dressed Maitre D. We were not shown to our table, although it had been booked several days prior to the occasion. He claimed it was not ready yet. We were shown to the bar, where we could order drinks while we waited. They only served spirits as doubles at £5 [then £15 now]. We waited and waited. Two lots of doubles later [£10 i.e. £30 now] the table magically became available. The dining room had about 20 tables. There was only one other client, a couple. The rest of the room was empty.

We ordered the special 3 course meal £45 per head [£135 now], excluding drinks. [Remember this is Cornwall in Winter out of season]. The food came.

The portions were miniscule. They called it Cuisine Nouvelle (never heard of it before): pea sized potatoes, kitten size portion of meat, jus [Gravy to everyone else] painted a la Picasso across the plate. Total bill per head including drinks £85 then. Worse still having driven halfway across the country we were still hungry ravenous as wolves. We had to visit the Fish and Chip takeaway on the harbour, Price £1.25 for Cod and Chips.
Hunger Strike
20th Jan 16 09:24

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