Service charge on UK restaurant’s £51 bill is causing huge debate
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There’s hardly much surprise expected when dinner at a London restaurant comes in on the pricier side.
Typically, in London this additional charge is around 12.5 percent of the cost of the meal and is for, well, the service. It’s technically different from a tip which you can choose yourself and if in cash, can specifically hand to a certain server.
Service charges are not always a necessary, mandatory cost - you just have to do the awkward asking of the staff to take off the charge when the bill comes.
Discretionary service charges have become more usual in recent years but only about a decade ago would we rarely see them printed out and included in the final bill.
And one user on Reddit shared their bill from London restaurant L’Escargot including a 15 percent ‘discretionary service charge’.
The three-course meal with a glass of wine came in at £51 with £7.65 added on.
Alongside the snap, they wrote: “London restaurant service charge inches up.”
The comments led to a real split in reaction, with some saying it’s ‘crazy high’.
Another even put: “Make this s**t illegal. Either state prices up front of f**k off.”
One wrote: “Honestly 10% for a friendly table service? Fine. 12.5% for a dining experience, proper attire for a posh evening, wine suggestion, coat hanging? Hmm ok.
“15% ? No. Unless there’s a cook doing tricks Benihana style.”
But others just advised diners to take it off if they didn’t want to pay it.
One also wrote: “I don’t really mind tipping around 10%, assuming it goes to the staff, but an upfront minimum tip of 15% seems a bit OTT. Sure, you can ask for it to be removed, but who wants to be that guy.”
The Straits Times report that a 2021 government report showed that many businesses 'that add a discretionary service charge onto customer’s bills are keeping part or all of these service charges, instead of passing them onto staff’.
Would you pay a full 15 percent in service charge after a cheeky meal out?
LADbible has contacted L’Escargot for comment.