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Thread: Pelican Nest - BEWARE of Deceptive Service Charge Practices

  1. #11
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    if that "service charge" is for the restaurant owner, then basically what it boils down to is its a cover charge to eat in the restaurant. now i've seen cover charges at clubs but never have I seen a cover charge at a restaurant. you can go to the Plaza in NYC and not pay a cover charge. i've seen "gratuity included for parties of 6 or more" which I can almost understand. but a cover charge to eat in the restaurant?? that's pretty much what it is if its going directly to the owner of the restaurant.

  2. #12
    Senior Member ~Amy~'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffnev View Post
    I actually think there is a real difference in many cases between a service charge and a tip. We spent 2 weeks in Italy this fall where it is customary for the restaurant to add a "cuperto" or cover/service charge to the bill. We read about this before we went, but were confused as to where the money went. We questioned a few waiters and waitresses when we saw it on the bill and they told us the "cuperto" went directly to the restaurant owner and specifically was not given to the waitstaff.
    We've traveled to London, Paris, Holland, and Belgium over the past few years now (have spent 25 days in Paris over the past year or so) and, at least in those countries, there is no service charge or tip added to your bill. In fact, they don't even expect a tip because their wages are good there (unlike the U.S.) If you've had good service, then you just "round up" the bill (ex. - if it was $53, then you leave $55) but they do not expect anything but the total on the bill.

    I was in Italy several years ago and I remember when I was in the touristy restaurants/areas they would have a "charge" just to sit down (usually outside). Why? Because the tourists would pay it.

    In Aruba, if we've had good service, we usually leave an extra 5% on top of the 15% since we normally tip 18%-20% here at home for good service. But if a restaurant states the 15% is not a tip, I won't leave a dime more and I will not go back there.
    ~Amy~ - 35th trip to Aruba: New Years Eve 2017/2018 -- Zihuatanejo, MX: March 2018 -- Ireland: June/July 2018 --
    36th trip to Aruba: Sept. 2018





  3. #13
    Senior Member AndyM's Avatar
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    Call it what you will. I'm not going to pay any more than 20% for extra charges on my check. Do the restaurant owners expect us to pay a 15% service charge AND a 15%-20% tip!?

    This practice is nothing more than an underhanded way to trick unaware tourists out of more money. In most cases, the servers are as guilty as the owners.

  4. #14
    Junior Member maggiemex's Avatar
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    We know there are some restaurants (like Madame Janette's) that specifically print on their menus the "Service Charge Not Included," so I wonder how those tips we leave are distributed (if they are). My niece worked in a casual chain restaurant in NJ and she said the waitstaff are supposed to give a certain percentage for busboys and bartenders.

  5. #15
    Senior Member purestone2004's Avatar
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    This is an obviously hot topic. We are like the initial poster and are considered "local" as we own and spend alot of time on the island. We eat out alot less than we used to and do not leave anything "extra" if a service charge is added. Have found the costs are getting higher and higher and the quality is not keeping. We are finding this charge more often and in restaurants that haven't had it in the past. What happened to the idea that a TIP was To Insure Prompt Service (don't mind the spelling). I think this is in direct relation to desperation in what someone else said a saturated restaurant market on the island. No offence to Americans but as my NZ father always said "tipping is a very tacky American custom that has invaded other countries".........

    Also in support we won't go to Pelican's Nest......promise.

  6. #16
    Senior Member ~Amy~'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by purestone2004 View Post
    This is an obviously hot topic. We are like the initial poster and are considered "local" as we own and spend alot of time on the island. We eat out alot less than we used to and do not leave anything "extra" if a service charge is added. Have found the costs are getting higher and higher and the quality is not keeping. We are finding this charge more often and in restaurants that haven't had it in the past. What happened to the idea that a TIP was To Insure Prompt Service (don't mind the spelling). I think this is in direct relation to desperation in what someone else said a saturated restaurant market on the island. No offence to Americans but as my NZ father always said "tipping is a very tacky American custom that has invaded other countries".........

    Also in support we won't go to Pelican's Nest......promise.
    Not sure about the waitstaff wages in Aruba, but in Europe they're paid a very good wage so tipping is not necesssary (which sometimes gives you "not the best" service since there is no need to work harder.) But in the U.S., the wages for waitstaff are low and they literally do work for tips - the better they are, the more they make/the more you tip. It's not tacky (and I didn't take offense ) but it is a way of life for these U.S. workers because of the low wages. But it also makes for good service as well.

    I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with either way but I can see both sides of the coin, so to speak.

    I've been to Aruba 25 times now and I still don't (and never will) consider myself a "local". I'm a visiting tourist.
    ~Amy~ - 35th trip to Aruba: New Years Eve 2017/2018 -- Zihuatanejo, MX: March 2018 -- Ireland: June/July 2018 --
    36th trip to Aruba: Sept. 2018





  7. #17
    Senior Member cindyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanNic44 View Post
    The old service charge issue rears its ugly head one more time.

    So, step up to the plate Aruba restauranteurs. You want to charge like NYC, then I hope you're that good or better. And if you are, I'll say so. If not, I'll say that, too. After all, you earned it!

    Bon dia!
    Go for it...I for one support all that you do for that Island. Good, bad or indifferent, pls post away Dan. i look forward to your perspective.

  8. #18
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    Hello!

    I agree with the others that state they will only tip on top of a service charge to equal a "normal" tip. In my various travels, when I come upon a service charge I will usually only add enough to make it equal the amount I would've tipped anyway. E.g. normal tip = 20% so with a 15% service charge, I'll leave an extra 5%. I also agree with thinking that it's not so subtle ripoff so I will not be visiting the Pelican Nest or others that have this charge.

    Slightly off topic: Personally I would also be angered if the resto served something other than advertised, however, in my opinion grouper is much tastier than mahi so would not complain about that. Someone said that grouper is the less expensive fish and this in most cases is not correct. On the east coast/mid-atlantic region, grouper can go for as high as $17-18/lbs whereas mahi is significantly cheaper. Mahi mahi are the rabbits of the sea, they are the fastest growing fish and overwhelmingly abundant in most regions - they can grow up to 5 feet in length in only two years and in fact most die before they reach age 2. They are also much easier to catch.

  9. #19
    Senior Member ~Amy~'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tight_lines View Post
    Slightly off topic: Personally I would also be angered if the resto served something other than advertised, however, in my opinion grouper is much tastier than mahi so would not complain about that. Someone said that grouper is the less expensive fish and this in most cases is not correct. On the east coast/mid-atlantic region, grouper can go for as high as $17-18/lbs whereas mahi is significantly cheaper. Mahi mahi are the rabbits of the sea, they are the fastest growing fish and overwhelmingly abundant in most regions - they can grow up to 5 feet in length in only two years and in fact most die before they reach age 2. They are also much easier to catch.
    All depends on where you are in the world (regarding price/availability) and your personal preferences regarding taste.
    ~Amy~ - 35th trip to Aruba: New Years Eve 2017/2018 -- Zihuatanejo, MX: March 2018 -- Ireland: June/July 2018 --
    36th trip to Aruba: Sept. 2018





  10. #20
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    . as for the tip subject, we had dinner at pago pago, who indeed add 18%, but they told a couple sitting next to me that's not considered a tip....
    Last edited by Andrea J.; 01-16-2012 at 03:59 PM. Reason: editing out off topic

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