Author Topic: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?  (Read 19461 times)

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kitchcat

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Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« on: December 22, 2013, 12:43:46 AM »
My family went out to eat at a nice restaurant for dinner (think $15-20 per person price range for an entree). Shortly after we sat down, a group of about 15 teens were seated at the table right next to us. It was obviously for one of the girls' 16th birthday as we overheard their conversation. We quickly noticed two girls each holding one of those round cake carriers with homemade cakes. We figured they probably were going to someone's house after dinner to eat the cake. They were well-dressed and well-behaved through the dinner. My family was impressed...until dessert time.

After they finished their dinner, they popped the lids of the cake containers and asked the waiter for dessert plates.  :o The waiter said there would be a $3 per plate "slicing fee" to serve the cake they brought (akin to a corking fee for wine). Desserts sold by the restaurant are about $6-7 if that matters. The teens obviously did not understand this concept. "We can cut it ourselves." "I can go get some paper plates from the store really quick," etc. The waiter said, no, they may not provide their own plates, and while they were free to cut their own cake, the fee must be paid or they could not eat the cake in the restaurant.

The teens pleaded a little more, not understanding why they had to "pay to eat the food they brought." After another firm "no" from the waiter, they put the cake away. After the waiter left, they sulked about how then waiter was "rude and mean." My dad whispered to our family that he was considering letting the kids know that the fee was pretty standard in nice restaurants as a measure to either discourage outside food or at least turn a profit on it. Not a condescending thing, but just as some helpful experience from an adult so they may better understand the waiter's stance. We told him not to bother, as they probably figured it out but were just upset.

So a few questions: would my dad have been out of line to explain the fee to them? Would you ever expect an outside birthday cake to be okay in a restaurant that serves dessert?
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NyaChan

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2013, 12:49:09 AM »
We've brought a cake to a restaurant a time or two before, but it was after we got permission from the restaurant and settled the terms, i.e. whether there would be a fee attached.  I think you were right to keep your dad out of it because they can easily figure it out elsewhere and you don't know how they might react to a stranger coming up to educate them about something when they are already upset. 

aussie_chick

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2013, 01:20:12 AM »
A lot of restaurants that I know of allow you to bring a cake for special occasion like a birthday. They all charge a fee. In fact, in their menu some call it "cakeage"! This includes restaurants where dessert is on the menu.

The only time I don't think it would be ok would be if the restaurant's speciality is cake and the chef is known for cake, which is why people go there! There's a few of this kind of place in Australia. I would never take cake there but would contact them beforehand (well beforehand) to organise a cake from them.

Upon thinking about this further, I would always call the restaurant first before assuming cake was ok. Unless i'd been there before.

I think your Dad would have been out of line to explain it to them even if well intentioned.

m2kbug

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2013, 02:16:15 AM »
I have seen (and done) the outside cake.  Guess what?  You get charged for plates and silverware.  This is no mystery...maybe it is...young teens, who knew??  It's not all free??  ;D

On one hand, I really don't see anything wrong with dad jumping in and explaining things to the teens that the wait staff was loathe to do.  On the other hand, I'm guessing this "schooling" didn't go over well with the teens, and the wait staff was waffling all over the place. 

Was dad rude?  Probably a little.

Were the teens rude?  No for ignorance, yes for belligerence.

Dad butted in.  I can't blame him for trying, but this really wasn't his place to to teach. 

kitchcat

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2013, 02:23:30 AM »
Was dad rude?  Probably a little.

Were the teens rude?  No for ignorance, yes for belligerence.

Dad butted in.  I can't blame him for trying, but this really wasn't his place to to teach.
My dad actually did not say anything to the teens. He merely commented that he considered saying something,
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cicero

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2013, 02:38:34 AM »
i don't think it would have been rude to say something - they may not have understood it, they may have thought that *this* restaurant was trying to cheat them. They are ~16, not everyone at that age would *know* that this is rule in most places. Because really, if you think about it in 16 yo logic - what's the big deal? we aren't asking them for anything, we bought *other* food, whey are they making such a big deal?

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m2kbug

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2013, 02:51:24 AM »
Was dad rude?  Probably a little.

Were the teens rude?  No for ignorance, yes for belligerence.

Dad butted in.  I can't blame him for trying, but this really wasn't his place to to teach.
My dad actually did not say anything to the teens. He merely commented that he considered saying something,

My mistake.  I would totally want to say something too. 

For me, this was some 20 years ago in high school, and occasionally "bring your own cake" played out and there was a fee..oh how unfair!...there was a fee.  I have no idea how things may play out as my young people move into this era...I think if you bring your own cake, you still have to pay for the service, the plates, the washing...expect a fee...if they allow you to bring in an outside food in the first place.

Was dad wrong for wanting to say something?  No.
Is it rude to bring in an outside cake?  Depends on the venue and their rules.

Bluenomi

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2013, 04:01:30 AM »
A cakeage fee is pretty common, especially at places that don't really have dessert and are popular with groups. I've taken cake to places myself after checking with the restaurant in question.  I can understand the teens finding it odd if they have never come across it before. Being underage they wouldn't have come across the corkage charge which is the same type of thing and more common. 

Side note, should corkage now be called screwage with screw caps on wine?  ;D

kherbert05

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2013, 05:59:36 AM »
I'm guessing the teens had seen this done - maybe in their own families but didn't know about the fee. In their ignorance they thought the restaurant was ripping them off.


I remember being about the same age and out with cousins and friends. A few of us decided to split an entree. So I ordered it as Entree and a set up. When we were charged for the set up, my friends thought we were being ripped off because of our age. They started to speak up and got a shut up, these people are Dad's customers and  you are going to get me in trouble hiss from me. To their credit they stopped. When we left I explained that the set up charge was standard - my cousins backed that up. (Splitting entrees was pretty standard for us even before Texas restaurants decided to give you 3 meals worth of food per order).


Someone needs to explain to these kids that this fee is standard, but unless your Dad is the personality type that really clicks with this age group him speaking up wouldn't have helped. They would have seen him as backing the people ripping them off. Your Dad sound like a terrific guy - and I bet if the restaurant had tried to rip the kids off he would have spoke up in their defense.
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Peppergirl

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2013, 06:00:33 AM »
I don't think your dad was wrong to *want* to say something, but I'm glad he didn't.  That likely would have been  viewed by them as overstepping, even though his heart was clearly in the right place.

I have been a part of parties where a cake was brought in, but as a PP mentioned, we cleared it with management first, and a small fee was attached. 

I'm willing to cut the teens a bit of slack because of their ages, but they lost my sympathy when they pronounced the waiter as 'rude and mean' for simply doing his job. 

Also, if this was a US based restaurant, I certainly hope the party was big enough to warrant an auto-gratuity, or the poor waiter probably got stiffed in retaliation.  :(  I'm typically not a fan of auto-grats, but in this case I hope it was there because I'd be willing to bet the farm he wouldn't have gotten tipped by them otherwise.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2013, 06:02:33 AM by Peppergirl »

that_one_girl

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2013, 06:37:21 AM »
Young teens, unless they have had a job as a dishwasher, probably wouldn't think they were asking anything huge by asking for some plates to serve their homemade cake on.  When told they need to pay a ''slicing fee'', of course they would balk at paying ''just to have someone cut the cake'' and would say they could slice it themselves.  If the restaurant called it a ''service fee'' instead and explained that the fee covered both the slicing and the extra work that the busboy and dishwashers would do in regard to the homemade cake, then perhaps the teens would understand better.

Harriet Jones

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2013, 07:41:32 AM »
As a teen, it would never have occurred to me that there might be a "cakeage" fee.

weeblewobble

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2013, 07:44:51 AM »
I think it's just youthful inexperience speaking here.  This is a lesson they need to learn if they want to host "grown up" dinners at restaurants for their birthdays.

rose red

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2013, 08:22:27 AM »
As a teen, it would never have occurred to me that there might be a "cakeage" fee.

Me neither and I think the waiter should have explained it clearer than just saying no, there's a fee, you have to pay it.  If he doesn't know how, perhaps bring over someone who can explain it in a way customers can understand.

Peppergirl

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2013, 08:39:14 AM »
Hmm, good points.  OP, did the waiter attempt to explain it to them, or did he just keep saying 'no'?

I'd likely have been confused as a teen as well, although I hope I would have known a bit better than to sulk and refer to him as 'rude and mean'. 

Also, adult experience will teach them that when you're confused by something a waiter is saying, it's best to ask for a manager.