Letter: Food for thought on restaurant charges

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article 'Charges that leave a bad taste in the mouth' (19 January) includes a number of quite distinct aspects.

The decision by a restaurant to itemise charges for mineral water, vegetables or bread, as I have seen recently, on the menu allows the customer to make an informed choice - we do not all wish to partake of all these things, after all. In my experience, the majority of the public seem quite capable of comparing like with like, and the little amount of mental arithmetic involved is surely no more than they expect if they are going to buy on price alone.

The matter of applying a 'service charge' (mandatory or optional) and then soliciting additional gratuities is reprehensible, but hardly more so than many other current ways of separating the customer from his cash.

Tips are usually earned by cooking and waiting staff and should be encouraged as a form of performance-related pay.

Yours faithfully,


Bildeston, Suffolk

19 January