I came across an article from my local paper about excessive cake serving fees and I wondered what ya'll thought about it.
I am not in the Restaurant business...I am just curious how a professional would have handled it.
(I am of the opinion that a fee is justified...but $10 a slice?). Thanks.
Oh, and is "cakeage" a word?
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Here’s one of the best ways to deflate a birthday celebration:
My husband and I came down off the mountain and ventured to SF to celebrate my daughter’s 30th birthday. I brought the requisite cake. There were 8 of us total. I won’t get into the averageness of the meal, but I almost turned completely gray when I saw that they charged us $80.00 for “cakeage”. I was inclined to assault our server. It made my head spin. Tough economic times for sure and here we were spending a vile sum of cash on an average meal where we couldn’t even hear the person 2 seats away. As it was a celebration for my daughter, I couldn’t say much whatever the expense. Toss in the mandatory tip, the 4% wellness and cakeage and we were just a tad over budget.
When did cakeage sneak out? And am I the only “hick” (former city kid, I might add) who chokes at the excess of these cool restaurants? Thanks for letting me vent.
It took my breath away, too, when I saw this email. I sometimes see a cakeage fee listed at the bottom of menus, but I think $10 a person is excessive. At this particular restaurant, that’s the same price as if everyone had ordered a separate dessert.
At first I thought the restaurant should charge a flat rate $25 or so as they do with corkage. However, I got to thinking about it from a restaurant’s point of view and I could understand their logic a little better.
Obviously a restaurant is in business to sell food, and if people bring in their own food then any hope of profit goes out the window. In the case of a birthday cake, diners are still occupying a table while they eat a separate course, which prevents a restaurant from resetting it for another party. When a person brings in a bottle of wine, it’s normally consumed with the meal so it doesn’t impact the turn of tables all that much.
That said, $10 a person fee seems excessive. The restaurant doesn’t have to make the dessert or pay for ingredients.
In the end, it comes down to communications. The restaurant doesn’t list a “cakeage” fee on the menu so the customer was caught unaware. From the restaurant’s standpoint, they had no idea the guests would bring their own dessert. At that point, there should have been a conversation. Ideally, anyone who wants to bring in a special cake should arrange it before the event.
I’d appreciate hearing from other restaurants as to how they handle similar situations.