All Charged Up

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Garthicus writes:

One of the posts during the week prompted me to ask the Dog House restaurant in Howth as to why they tagged on 12.5% service charge to my bill on the weekend for a table for 3 (two adults and a child). I forgot about it but they just tweeted me this.

Just desserts or sour grapes? International scandal or nothing to see here?

(Pic: William Murphy)

49 thoughts on “All Charged Up

    1. Sinabhfuil

      Must be a new thing. I can’t imagine going into Bewley’s for a cuppa in my cafe-haunting days and being told “It’s Saturday so you’ll pay more”.
      I wouldn’t go to a place that did this.

  1. ivan

    I’d have a problem with it because – as ever – i’m not sure that the service charge is going to the staff on top of their wage…

    I’m oldskool – leave the few quid, discreetly, on the table

    1. All the good ones fly south for winter

      Put little fake beards on the coins so it’s extra discreet.

  2. ahyeah

    Nothing unusual but I agree that it’s kind of annoying. Irrespective of the service, it makes me resent leaving the (forced) tip. And invariably I would have left a bigger one.

    Often wondered… is it obligatory? If the service was completely sh1t, could you ask them to remove it?

    1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly

      It’s in no way obligatory. Fupp them off by telling them to remove it and then tip exactly that amount.

      1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly

        In my experience it’s usually 10% though. I’d usually leave more than that, but never do when it’s included

  3. Raskolnikov

    If you felt the staff were more deserving of the 12.5% you could still have tipped them on top of that. Why punish them for poor management decisions?

  4. paps

    What is this Shame crap, you’re not being forced to eat at this place, why not just go somewhere else?

    1. Eliot Rosewater

      It’s kind of like how hotels raise their prices if there’s a lot of demand. Fairly basic supply and demand.

        1. Eliot Rosewater

          Yes, and hotels are selling a room for a night, while restaurants are selling food for a few hours. Both raise their prices during busy periods.

          1. Bacchus

            Again no. Hotel rooms are finite therefore “supply and demand” is a genuine factor. Pints and food are not finite therefore it’s just plain ol’ greedy overcharging because it’s late or they think they can. In the case of the pub you can take your business elsewhere, not so easy with a hotel near a gig, match or whatever.

    2. ahyeah

      Yeah, thought that too. Manager is essentially saying, ‘Staff are run off their feet because we’re raking it in – and we’ve decided the customers should compensate them for that’.

  5. Janet

    Yep, staff never see that money in my experience, usually leads to worse service my ticked off staff

  6. munkifisht

    If the menu has a mandatory service charge then they state it on the menu, it is then mandatory. They can also add a gratuity to the bill but that’s not mandatory unless stated on the menu. This is normally added to give to staff because Irish people don’t tip staff regardless of service (which is fine by the way, much better system than the States), and I’d think the reason they do this on the weekend is because as they say they are busier. I kinow the Dog House well, real nice spot which can be very quiet on weekdays.

    1. ahyeah

      According to a barrister friend of mine (we’re having a pint right now, thanks), if the service is completely sh1t, you could argue that the restaurant is in breach of contract by not providing a level of service that adheres to reasonable expectation, and could then refuse to pay *some of* the service charge. If it’s clearly stated in advance, though, you can’t refuse to pay it only on principle.

      1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly

        Usually they say a discretionary service charge has been added to your bill. I’ve never seen the word mandatory.

        1. munkifisht

          I’ve seen it quite a lot, most regularly with the stipulation “tables of 6 or more”.

          I would reckon to argue it you’d prob have to have had pretty abysmal service. You can’t really ask for more than a waiter taking your order, bringing your food and getting your bill in reasonable time. Anything else is a bonus.

  7. wearnicehats

    Someone in the revenue will now be checking that the staff in the Doghouse add 12.5% to their personal tax returns

    It is rare for restaurants to take the tips. In fact restaurant owners tend to steer clear of anything to do with them as it does have tax implications. If they are using being busy as an excuse I hope they are including the kitchen staff as normally they don’t get a cut

  8. nathanw

    As someone who has worked in hospitality for many many years both here and abroad I can confirm that irish people are poo tippers. The reason an establishment would include a service charge is simply to combat this fact. It really annoys me when people complain about having to pay a service Charge, waiting staff work for minimum wage (and in a lot of cases below minimum wage) in one of the most demanding industries in the world and need tips to supplement their income. The very people who complain about serviCe charge are generally the ones who never tip

    1. Dan

      And how is it a customers job to pay your wages? Take it up with your boss, or find a new job.

      1. nathanw

        What an ignorant comment. Find a new job? It’s that easy is it? If every waiter took this view there would be no one to serve you your food. It’s not a customers job to pay a waiters wages, simply a courtesy to tip you server a small amount for waiting on you hand and foot for the duration of your meal

      2. Tony

        Fairly pig ignorant comment there Dan. I wonder do you tend to frequent the same restaurants when (or if) you eat out? I’d say the staff have a nickname for you if you’re as dismissive of tipping as you make out. Plus I’d say you’ve eaten your fair share of ‘secret sauce’ and kitchen porters’ pubes over the years, God help ye!

      1. nathanw

        12-14 hours minimum on your feet a day, no break, incredibly anti social hours, fast paced, understaffed, at times chaoticly stressful, dealing with expectant, demanding, often rude sometimes belligerent people. And all this for less 9 euro an hour? Name me one industry more demanding than that. Eejit

        1. jeremy kyle

          It’s genuinely not the fault clientele if you have to work 14 hours without a break while understaffed and it’s not their job to compensate you for it.

          All the respect in the world to you for your work ethic, but if you’re looking for some martyr like status because you are/were relatively overworked or underpaid you’re not going to get it from other people who also work pretty fuckin’ hard to be able to afford a meal out at the weekends somewhere without being made to feel like it’s some sort of Trocaire drive.

          1. jeremy kyle

            *of the :/

            Well, that’s me out of running for this year’s national grammar rodeo.

  9. Garthicus

    I don’t recall seeing a mention of the service charge on the menu. (However I may of missed it)

    I probably would have tipped 20% had it not been prescribed for me. We were a table of 3 (4 if you count my 6 month old in his stroller)

    Service charge when busy? Surely the busier you are the more tips you make?

  10. Derval

    If you tip waiters, you are being duped.
    If you tip waiters, you should tip everyone who is on minimum wage.

    In USA waiters are legally ACTUALLY paid less than minimum wage, so there is a genuine reason for giving them a tip in order to bring them up to minimum wage.

    How this ever became a custom in Ireland is ridiculous because waiters earn the same minimum wage as supermarket checkout staff and anyone else who is on minimum wage.

    1. nathanw

      Supermarket checkout staff also receive overtime, bank holiday pay, sunday pay etc and receive their proper breaks by law. A lot of waiting staff are paid per shift and not hourly which equates to less than minimum wage. Also don’t be obtuse, the two jobs are incomparable in terms of physicality of the work etc, you have clearly never worked in hospitality. All this aside OP it is very unusual to be charged service charge for a table of 3 and even more unusual to be charged just because it is busy. I have never witnessed either of these practices before. Service charge is normally reserved for groups of 6-8 or more

  11. disgruntled

    Legally I’m pretty sure the cafe would have to display weekend prices for each item alongside the regular price.

  12. Bort

    I consider myself a generous tipper, I detest added service charge A. I don’t trust that the tip will be passed on to the server or split among the proper staff etc, B. I feel like they’re assuming I am a scab and won’t tip, C. It prevents me out of spite from tipping more D. Sometimes the service is shit and I don’t to tip that much and E IT MAKES ME WRITE LISTS!

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