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Is this restaurant taking the mick, or are we just naive?

235 replies

IbizaToTheNorfolkBroads · 01/07/2023 22:13

DH had a £100 voucher for a local restaurant.

We went tonight and ate/drank £76 on food and drink.

They initially refused to give us change (fine, I wasn't expecting cash change), or a smaller voucher for what we hadn't spent/ annotation on the original voucher for what we had left.

They did finally give us cash change as a goodwill gesture since we were unaware (doesn't say anything on their website or on the voucher).

Is this normal? They've been paid £100 for the voucher, they were essentially planning on picketing £24 that they'd been paid.

Or should be have forced ourselves to have had another bottle of wine ?🤣

I've never had a restaurant voucher before, but a local bookshop just writes on their vouchers how much you have left to spend if you don't spend it all at once.

OP posts:
Catspyjamas17 · 03/07/2023 12:40

I've never heard of getting change from a voucher. Most places will have something in the ts and cs that it cannot be swapped for cash. I agree it means that the place is in profit if you don't spend it all.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe · 03/07/2023 12:49

ohdamnitjanet · 03/07/2023 12:25

They should definitely give you another voucher, but why a small tip? The restaurant policy isn’t the wait staff’s fault. And we do have a tip culture in restaurants here, it just isn’t expected in the same way as the USA. And for all those who think tipping is dumb - you do know wait staff usual get minimum wage, don’t you? And if you don’t want to tip restaurant costs will go up so you’ll pay anyway. It’s just a nice way to show a little cash appreciation to someone who does a hard job and works shite hours so you can have a nice night out being waited on.

Restaurants should put their costs up if that's what's needed. They can then pay staff properly and 'tipping' can be done away with. It's completely unnecessary in the UK and totally unjustifiable.

Do your job and earn the money agreed for that job. Whatever the job. No other profession has their hands out for more from the customers with the expectation of a gratuity.

MaybeSmaller · 03/07/2023 12:53

I've never heard of getting change from a voucher. Most places will have something in the ts and cs that it cannot be swapped for cash.

That's fine, but that shouldn't mean you have to spend it all on one single visit! Unless the terms and conditions clearly indicate otherwise, I would expect to get a chit for the remainder to use on a later visit.

It's like when you get a £100 Amazon voucher. You can use it for multiple orders, you don't have to buy something costing £100 on one order.

Doesn’t selling alcohol to take away require a different license from the one allowing it to be sold and consumed on the premises?

I'm sure it does, but then just order a bottle of wine to your table. You don't have to tell them it's to take home. It's not like they can physically stop you leaving with the bottle!

FarTooHotForMe · 03/07/2023 12:57

It’s a cheap restaurant to get all that for £76.

Puzzledandpissedoff · 03/07/2023 12:58

No terms displayed anywhere - not on voucher, restaurant website, menu or displayed in restaurant

For me that was the real mistake; choose whatever conditions they want and people can choose whether or not to go, but at least make it clear

And on the subject of service charges versus tips I don't mind either - what I do mind is seeing a service charge and a tantalising little line inviting you to leave a tip as well Hmm

Underthebell · 03/07/2023 13:21

Usernamen · 01/07/2023 22:54

Well, it’s more that there’s absolutely no need to tip in the UK the way you need to tip in the US. Restaurant staff are paid at least NMW.
You wouldn’t tip checkout staff at Tesco, or the barista who serves you in Starbucks, so I don’t see why you should tip a waiter in a restaurant.

Absolutely this, hate feeling obliged to tip, more so when they add a discretionary service charge.

OP I would have expected the option of a small voucher, though when I've received a restaurant voucher we've made a real feast of it so either small change remained or gone slightly over. Perhaps not feasible in your case.

LookItsMeAgain · 03/07/2023 13:35

I would have said "Can you charge £75 off the voucher, we'll pay the £1 in cash and leave a tip on the table for the waiting staff?" Then you should have received back a £25 voucher for use at a different time and been able to pay the difference in cash.

As for this bit "We asked if we could take home another bottle of wine with the rest of the voucher, but they said not, as they are not licensed for off premises consumption. Fair enough." if you wanted another bottle of wine in order to spend the full amount on the voucher, I would have asked the waiting staff to bring the bottle, and leave the cork/screw cap as I know that I'm not going to be able to finish the bottle there. I'd then put the bottle in my handbag (always bring a large handbag for things like this and take the bottle home with me. So long as the bottle is opened on the premises, you're doing the drink equivalent of bringing a doggy bag home with you (in my eyes anyway).

LuckySantangelo35 · 03/07/2023 14:10

ReleasetheCrackHen · 01/07/2023 23:42

No, I was thinking more along lines of having a couple coffees for about £8 and then leaving the rest £16 as a tip.

@ReleasetheCrackHen

you must be made of money to be giving out £16 tips

ReeseWitherfork · 03/07/2023 14:28

LuckySantangelo35 · 03/07/2023 14:10

@ReleasetheCrackHen

you must be made of money to be giving out £16 tips

Most of mumsnet do earn £2.5million annually though remember. I’m a povvo though personally, a 20% tip would have me eating beans for the rest of the week.

jellyminelli · 03/07/2023 14:30

"No, I was thinking more along lines of having a couple coffees for about £8 and then leaving the rest £16 as a tip."

How do you know the price of the coffee? 🤔

nidgey · 03/07/2023 15:08

IbizaToTheNorfolkBroads · 01/07/2023 22:17

A very small tip. The service was very good until we came across this unpublished voucher policy.

That sounds mean - the tip is for the server, and it's hardly their fault they have that policy

Creamteaforone · 03/07/2023 15:16

We had a restaurant voucher for £120.00. It was a lovely gift from a family member for my special birthday. It was one of those book a special lunch, tea for two type vouchers. My sister gave me the receipt so I knew it wasn't cheap. I then could book on-line and choose where to visit. We also paid an extra £30.00 so in total it was worth £150.00.
We booked an evening and was really looking forward to it. My DH and I turned up and spoke to someone behind the bar. She gave us the menu and was just about to sit us at our table when the manager turned up and said, not those menus, it is the voucher people so we were given another menu.
It made us laugh and all night we were known as the voucher people.
The thing is the place was more like a harvester so it wasn't a 5 star restaurant.
We asked for a bottle of wine but we could only have the house red as the other wines weren't on the voucher which was fine. No glasses and we had to ask if they could take the Cork out of the bottle so we could drink it.
We had a small started and burgers for main, skipped the dessert. We should of ordered a sh*t load of gin but couldn't wait to leave. The experience wasn't great and I suspect the cost was around £70.00. It was like fawlty towers.
Best part of the evening was grabbing a few treats from our local shop, going home and watching a movie with our DC's. Should of stayed in and ordered a pizza.
I has put me off using those type of vouchers again.

Danielle9891 · 03/07/2023 15:18

I work at a restaurant and we would just write on what was left and photocopy the voucher for our till so the customer can use the remaining balance at another time.

ReadingSoManyThreads · 03/07/2023 15:20

ReleasetheCrackHen · 01/07/2023 22:31

I don’t leave cash tips. It’s keep the change as the tip for vouchers or round up the bill when paying. I pay via Apple Pay. That’s why I asked. The restaurant might have been hinting to OP that customers usually tell them keep the change as a tip.

Sadly, many restaurants/hotels do not pass on tips left electronically, even though this is illegal. Know from personal experience being an employee and NONE of us got given any tips left by credit cards. Totally illegal, but totally normal in the hospitality industry.

Emma87657 · 03/07/2023 15:28

This is nonsense, there is a tipping culture in the UK, and provided the service has been satisfactory it’s considered very tight not to tip. Many restaurants add 10-15% to the bill as the default nowadays

Ontopofthesunset · 03/07/2023 15:30

As others have said, you should have just ordered another bottle of wine and asked to keep the cap/cork as you probably wouldn't finish it and would take the rest home. We often do this and no restaurant has ever refused. As long as you open it there and start to drink it (or appear to), you're within their licensing laws.

On the more general point, vouchers do vary, and I have had some where no change is given and some where the amount is deducted or a new voucher issued, but never cash back.

jellyminelli · 03/07/2023 15:33

And when the restaurant refused a bottle of wine as the OP explained should they have said, but @Ontopofthesunset always does it and stuck out their bottom lip?

Ontopofthesunset · 03/07/2023 15:37

All I said was no restaurant has ever refused when we ask to keep the cork in case we don't finish the bottle. The OP didn't ask that so we don't know what the restaurant would have said had she framed her request that way. Having asked for an unopened bottle to take home first, maybe they would have refused. But we have never tried asking for an unopened bottle. Anyway, it doesn't matter as this didn't happen.

GeorgeMichaelsCat · 03/07/2023 15:57

Emma87657 · 03/07/2023 15:28

This is nonsense, there is a tipping culture in the UK, and provided the service has been satisfactory it’s considered very tight not to tip. Many restaurants add 10-15% to the bill as the default nowadays

Glad you said this and it is not just me. I rarely eat out now without a service charge being automatically added to the bill. Even if not, if the service is good I'll tip.

Samlewis96 · 03/07/2023 16:04

Usernamen · 02/07/2023 06:54

It depends what you mean by tipping culture. Nearly every restaurant I’ve been to will add a service charge which is like a tip. It is not left up to the customer to decide how much to tip. The fact there has to be an automatic service charge added to the bill demonstrates that there’s no tipping culture!


We do not tip for services in this country - for example when you order a drink at a bar in the US, it is customary to tip the bar staff a few dollars (depending on the size of the order). I have not once seen that happen in London, and I’ve been to hundreds of bars over the years.

It's not actually obligatory to pay the service charge. You are perfectly entitled to get it removed. My partner foes every time as would rather tip good waiting staff in cash

Puzzledandpissedoff · 03/07/2023 16:30

Sadly, many restaurants/hotels do not pass on tips left electronically, even though this is illegal

I absolutely believe you, ReadingSoManyThreads, since some will get away with whatever they can

It's not a reason for customers to tip and tip again though, but a spur for the staff to take it up with management - or better still, for everyone to leave.
The overall point for me is that I don't go out for a meal to start inserting myself into other people's working arrangements; I have enough respect for them to expect they'll do that for themselves

PinkStarAtNight · 03/07/2023 16:32

I think you should have checked what their policy was before you went.

We use the Tesco clubcard vouchers for restaurants, and it always states that no change will be given so you have to try spend it all or lose what you don't use. For this reason I wouldn't assume a restaurant voucher would automatically give change and if it wasn't clear I would always check.

If this is a nice place and you've spent £76 in one night, what good would it do to have £24 to spend another time? Surely in a place where you can easily spend £76, then a voucher for £24 would mean nothing. Seems to make more sense just to get an extra bottle of wine/fancy desserts/cheeseboard while you're still there.

Mikieman · 03/07/2023 16:45

Very cheeky and equally as sleazy. I’d have wanted either cash back or a smaller voucher to use next time. Otherwise their windows wouldn’t have lasted the night.

LuckySantangelo35 · 03/07/2023 16:52

PinkStarAtNight · 03/07/2023 16:32

I think you should have checked what their policy was before you went.

We use the Tesco clubcard vouchers for restaurants, and it always states that no change will be given so you have to try spend it all or lose what you don't use. For this reason I wouldn't assume a restaurant voucher would automatically give change and if it wasn't clear I would always check.

If this is a nice place and you've spent £76 in one night, what good would it do to have £24 to spend another time? Surely in a place where you can easily spend £76, then a voucher for £24 would mean nothing. Seems to make more sense just to get an extra bottle of wine/fancy desserts/cheeseboard while you're still there.

@PinkStarAtNight

£24 off your next meal is nothing to be sneezed at!

why stuff yourself with a cheeseboard you don’t really want for the sake of using it all up at once when you can just save it for another time and get a bit of money off another meal?

RosaSkye · 03/07/2023 16:54

I would think it’s just bad business as the remainder wouldn’t be enough for another full meal so giving you the ‘change’ as a voucher is surely a way of guaranteeing repeat custom?

That said, if they clearly weren’t going to do it, I’d have asked for a bottle of wine with the remainder and taken it home!

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