Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Two entrees - four people


Mussina
 Share

Recommended Posts

Curious what other restaurants do to avoid this situation. We make most of our money on Sat. nights. It is reservation only and every seat is called for. We have a party of four (who have been to the restaurant before) reserve for 7:30 (our prime time). Their order - 2 entrees to share for four people and no apps. We average $65/person so this does hurt us. We also serve a bunch of amuses/post dinner truffles which we gave to all four even though there were only two orders.

What is the industry standard as far as plate sharing charges in high end restaurants? How would you have handled this? (We did nothing but get annoyed).

Many thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Curious what other restaurants do to avoid this situation.  We make most of our money on Sat. nights.  It is reservation only and every seat is called for.  We have a party of four (who have been to the restaurant before) reserve for 7:30 (our prime time).  Their order - 2 entrees to share for four people and no apps.  We average $65/person so this does hurt us.  We also serve a bunch of amuses/post dinner truffles which we gave to all four even though there were only two orders.

What is the industry standard as far as plate sharing charges in high end restaurants?  How would you have handled this? (We did nothing but get annoyed).

Many thanks!

It is pretty tight i agree but unless you put a note on the bottom of the menu showing a minimum spend or number of courses per head there is not much you can do except seethe quietly! You could even just apply it to busy services such as saturday night if this is the only time it is likely to be an issue. I have never done this in a restaurant i have managed but have seen it on many menus here in london. I would also ensure they didn't get the amuses or truffles for the extra two diners unless i was feeling generous as this is a goodwill gesture on your behalf and certainly not expected. The fact they have eaten before does complicate things i agree, but unless they were regulars or particularly high spenders when they dined before i think this would not be inappropriate behaviour.

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Writing as a 'civilian'.....

This [second] time they pull that? Nothing.

Next time? "Sorry, we have no tables available at that time. No, sorry, we're fully booked then as well. " &c. &c.

The joy of reservation systems. Or am I out of line here?

cheers

Derek

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Writing as a 'civilian'.....

This [second] time they pull that? Nothing.

Next time? "Sorry, we have no tables available at that time. No, sorry, we're fully booked then as well. " &c. &c.

The joy of reservation systems. Or am I out of line here?

cheers

Derek

I think that is pretty harsh. My BF and I dine out a lot and frequently share entrees by virtue of the fact that we eat our large meal of the day for lunch and often only want a little at dinner time. Now we usually compensate by ordering an expensive wine and we tip well, but I know that we are not the norm.

I think just adding an amendment to the bottom of the menu that shared plates incur an additional charge is sufficient. Granted, it won't raise Mussina's evening income to the standard he would like, but is a common practice we are used to seeing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Writing as a 'civilian'.....

This [second] time they pull that? Nothing.

Next time? "Sorry, we have no tables available at that time. No, sorry, we're fully booked then as well. " &c. &c.

The joy of reservation systems. Or am I out of line here?

cheers

Derek

unfortunately, you can't ask their name when they call - not before you give them a table...

Alcohol is a misunderstood vitamin.

P.G. Wodehouse

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I mean, what can you do but suck it up?

No matter how annoying, it's bad practice to turn people away for not spending "enough" money. You can't assume--maybe they saved for months to be able to eat in a nice place, even if only 2 entrees. You don't know peoples' situation, and hence nothing should be done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  How would you have handled this? (We did nothing but get annoyed).

I'd work the cost of this type of dining into my bottom line and shut my mouth.

Consider serving main courses that aren't large enough to share comfortably?

I think it's tacky for a restaurant to dictate minimums per person. Unless the resaturant is at the scummiest college joint level it smacks of inhospitality.

It barely okay at the scummy college level- but everyone knows that students are broke cheapskates that don't tip.

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's tacky for a restaurant to dictate minimums per person. Unless the resaturant is at the scummiest college joint level it smacks of inhospitality.

I think it's tacky for 4 adults to go to a restaurant and only order 2 entrees.. No apps or dessert.

No offense to another poster, but if they have to save up for months just to eat there, only to order less than half of what is considered normal, they shouldnt be dining at this restaurant. I would love to eat at per se, Le Bernardin, and Jean Georges every week, but I can't afford it. Just like driving, eating out is a privilege, not a right...

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Writing as a 'civilian'.....

This [second] time they pull that? Nothing.

Next time? "Sorry, we have no tables available at that time. No, sorry, we're fully booked then as well. " &c. &c.

The joy of reservation systems. Or am I out of line here?

cheers

Derek

unfortunately, you can't ask their name when they call - not before you give them a table...

why not? that's standard practice here in NY.

I'd certainly cut out the extra amuses for a start. I don't think you need to put a plate-sharing charge on the menu...but be sure to have their server tell them when they order....nothing wrong with making up a plate-sharing charge just for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Plate sharing charges - so what do you do if you have a party of 4 who orders cocktails, 2 app's, wine, 2 entrees and 2 dessert? Do you charge 6 plate sharing charges?

I appreciate that some places will plate the shared dishes, when not even asked. It is beyond the call of duty. I eat out with people who like multi course dinners, but aren't interested in leftovers - even half orders are likely to be too much food. (Me, I'll take leftovers anytime, and I don't get charged extra for the extra service - should I?)

On the other hand, I stopped going to a restaurant where it seemed like the chef sent extras to every "special occasion" table (most of them) but not to the table with the longtime regular (me.) Maybe they were trying to let me know I wasn't welcome, but I think it was just bad practice.

In this case, since the amuse were serviced prior to the ordering, and no desserts were ordered, I would hold the truffles. Not to be mean, but if they didn't order much, they didn't need those either. I have a favorite place that may or may not do just that - you have to be careful, you are providing a 3-course meal for the price of an entree - sometimes there is just too much food to order more. Maybe they had drinks and app's at home before coming and had a special event dessert at home.

So many possibilities.

Edited by tsquare (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Plate sharing charges - so what do you do if you have a party of 4 who orders cocktails,  2 app's, wine, 2 entrees and 2 dessert? Do you charge 6 plate sharing charges?

As with corkage fees, I think some discretion is appropriate for plate sharing charges. The regular guest who keeps a few special bottles in a locked wine box in your storage facilities, orders pre-dinner cocktails and 3 or 4 courses of food isn't charged a corkage fee, and he likewise shouldn't be charged for plate sharing, on the occasions that he chooses to dine family style.

On the other hand, people who must save up for months in order to dine in a restaurant where they can only afford and eat a half of an entree, with no appetizers or dessert, need to be casually and politely informed that they really cannot afford to eat there.

Here's a positive-reinforcement idea, that might work well when coupled with instituting a plate sharing charge: Seek out tables like these of obviously budget-minded individuals, and hand them a special business card, inviting them to partake in an "early bird" special, or an off-night discount. Take one of our tables at 5:30 on a Wednesday evening and get 3 (smaller portioned) courses for a price that's in the neighborhood of one of our regular entrees, say, $28? It's not terribly expensive to offer a half-caesar, some braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and a portion of tiramisu for that, and you're selling a table that would otherwise sit empty at that time of day.

Really, it wouldn't be mean of you at all to suggest that sort of alternative, and in fact, you'd be doing them a favor, by suggesting a way that they could get much more value for their dining dollars, don't you think?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We're in the hospitality business, right? So be hospitable and make every guest feel welcome. Maybe they won't spend a lot of money with you that night, but if you make them feel important and welcomed and they enjoy themselves, then you never know how many people they will tell to eat at your restaurant.

This sounds like a one-off problem and something that shouldn't require a new policy that would possibly irk more people than it would help your bottom line.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Writing as a 'civilian'.....

This [second] time they pull that? Nothing.

Next time? "Sorry, we have no tables available at that time. No, sorry, we're fully booked then as well. " &c. &c.

The joy of reservation systems. Or am I out of line here?

cheers

Derek

Yes, Derek, you're out of line. And when they find out it's bullshit and complain to everyone they know, then how good is it for the restaurant?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[...]Just like driving, eating out is a privilege, not a right...

You're conflating two dissimilar things. Driving requires a license that ostensibly demonstrates that the driver has proven his/her skill in operating a deadly vehicle. Eating out does not require a license or any special skill, and under U.S. Civil Rights Law, denying someone the right to eat in your establishment on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, etc., is prohibited and actionable. So while I sort of get your point, your analogy is very inapt.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mussina, I guess my feeling is that the extras (amuses, etc.) could reasonably be withheld under the circumstances you present. They are after all extras.

Meanwhile, you said that the party had been there before, so they're repeat business. Did they order more last time? I think you have to hope that they enjoyed the food and the experience and will tell friends, who probably will order more than 2 mains for 4 people. I find sharing charges objectionable and kind of mean, but if sharing, I usually would share a couple of appetizers, a salad or perhaps a full portion of pasta, and then possibly one main if mains are huge, or else we'd get our own mains and pass each other a few bites of our respective dishes. A place that would charge us extra for that will not get my business. So be careful not to institute a policy that's worse than status quo. If you have to choose, a minimum charge per person (which you should waive if the total bill for a table amounts to more than the minimum per head, even if someone ordered less and tasted a bit of others' food) is much preferable to a sharing charge, in my opinion.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So while I sort of get your point, your analogy is very inapt.

That's all I want. Besides, it wasn't an analogy.

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

Link to comment
Share on other sites

there's nothing illegal about discriminating against diners on the basis of cheapness.

Amen.

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

Link to comment
Share on other sites

under U.S. Civil Rights Law, denying someone the right to eat in your establishment on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, etc., is prohibited and actionable. So while I sort of get your point, your analogy is very inapt.

But you can hold the right to refuse service for any other reason. If that was not the case Steve and Ian would have lost 54 the first month.

Living hard will take its toll...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a person of advanced age on a limited income I can certainly understand why this situation happens. Most places now days put way more food in a serving than we can eat and some things just don't reheat well.

Just because we're on a limited menu shouldn't preclude us from having a decent meal on occasion.

Having spent my whole adult life in the food service industry there are things that I think are reasonable. There should be a reasonable fee for split plates and a fee for extra bread.

Had one group that split entree and then used three baskets of bread to fill up.

Worst I ever saw was a couple that came in for breakfast regularly. They ordered one cup of coffee which he drank and then she drank the refill. Now that's chintzy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Customer:

"Waiter how much is bread?"

Waiter:

"sir we don't charge for bread."

Customer:

"how much is water?"

Waiter:

"water is free sir."

Customer:

"how much is gravy?"

Waiter:

"sir gravy, as are all our sauces is not charged for."

Customer:

"ok I'm ready to order. I'll have some bread with a dish of gravy and a glass of water."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would think an extra plate charge for split dinners would be OK; just note it on the menu. I would wait to serve the amuse until after they order - one complimentary (amuse/truffle) per dinner. Of course you could tailor this to the patron/party.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can kill them with kindness. Just overdo the service to the point that they are ever so slightly put off by it. Every time they take a sip of water, have the waiter top up the glass. And make sure you are only doing for their table.

They can't accuse you of being rude, just overbearing. Don't mess with their orders, just not worth it. But give them your smarmiest waiter, or the one with a bit of a mean streak, and give your staff some creative freedom. You know you have someone on staff willing to come in on a day off to pull this stunt. Just pay the tip for said waiter yourself, as they probably won't get one.

On the other hand, you can bite your tounge while they are there and complain about it later. Just make sure they get their food really fast so they are out the door ASAP.

ETA: There is also the old standby "worst seat in the house" ploy. Got one near the bathroom?

Edited by FistFullaRoux (log)
Screw it. It's a Butterball.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...