One of the more frustrating parts of Europe is eating in restaurants (which we’ve done a lot of). Here is why:
- Tipping is not customary, therefore service is not good
- You have to purchase water (anywhere from $3-$6 for a 1 liter bottle)
- A medium sized soda/lemonade/beverage can cost up to $8, prices are often not listed on the menu, there are no refills
- After you’re done you have to flag someone down to ask for a check, which can sometimes take 10-15 minutes
- If you need/want anything, much waiting is involved
- You don’t have a specific waiter, it’s a group effort from the entire staff, which contributes to the poor service
- They charge a “service fee” rather than having a tip system, so you don’t actually get out of paying a tip despite the crappy service, but still have to pay a certain percentage of your bill anyway (10-15%)
- Sometimes they tack on an arbitrary “cover charge” if you are sitting in an outdoor table, and sometimes they tack it on for no reason at all
Here is a typical receipt from a lunch in Venice.
Total: 34.50 euro (or $42.84 UDS)
First of all, we paid 19.50 euro for the actual food. Second, we paid 10.50 euro in service and cover charges for a 34.50 euro bill. That is 30%, people! Ridic!