Restaurant Rounds Up to the Nearest Nickel?

Maybe this is something new that we’re missing out on, but since when is there a “rounding” charge? This restaurant in Brooklyn rounded up $.02 to make this bill an (even?) $22.95. Uh, what? Maybe it’s part of the war on pennies. —MEGHANN MARCO

Give a penny. That is an order. [Stay Free!]

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  1. Mike_ says:

    I’m sure they keep a handful of pennies on hand for the asshats who flip out over $0.04. Personally, I like the idea. Pennies are more trouble than they’re worth.

  2. Magister says:

    I remember being at a Hard Rock in DC with a group of 8. They put the tip on the bill, but they calculated it before tax. THEN they calculated tax including the Tip. UGH…

    I know it ends up being the same thing, but if you are forcing me to pay your predetermined tip, don’t tax me on it.

  3. Magister says:

    It also meant, the server could get less tip.

  4. MattyMatt says:

    I used to be a waiter, and counting out little coins was kind of a hassle when things were busy.

  5. KevinQ says:

    If they’re trying to make things easier, then they should round down by the two cents, not up. That’s just taking money for no reason – Charging more isn’t for the benefit of the customer, it’s for the benefit of the restaurant making the charge.

    Register your displeasure with the waitress. Don’t get into a fight about it (it’s only 2 cents, after all), but mention it. Or, if you’re of a more passive-aggressive bent, leave as much of your tip as you can in loose change.

    K

  6. Sudonum says:

    If counting out coins is a hassle the round to the CUSTOMERS favor!!

  7. Bokonon says:

    There’s a restaurant in Pittsburgh, Mad Mex, that rounds down to the nearest multiple of 5. They force the waitstaff to pay for it.

    I suppose its convenient, but it’s bizarre.

  8. Bokonon says:

    I should add that Mad Mex’s rounding is not clearly indicated with the “Rounding” line on the receipt. You realize it after you see that every single receipt ends in 0 or 5, and that the numbers don’t add up.

  9. OnoSideboard says:

    I have to voice my TOTAL disagreement with the suggestion of protesting by screwing your server on the tip. Your server has nothing to do with the restaurant’s pricing practices. If you seriously have a problem with the rounding, ask to speak to the manager and register a complaint. Don’t shaft the guy or girl relying on tips to pay bills because they get paid $2.30 an hour.

    Also: Jesus Christ that’s an expensive salad.

  10. desonos says:

    As a credit card customer EVERYWHERE (specifically to avoid change issues), I find this incredibly annoying. I would echo the advice not to screw the wait staff, but instead talk to the manager and politely tell them it’s not cool. I wouldn’t get too upset, because it IS only $0.04 at most, but it’s the principal of the thing.

  11. Smashville says:

    If 2 cents breaks you, you shouldn’t be eating the 12 dollar salad.

  12. gertrudeyorkes says:

    I don’t think it’s the 2 cents that’s got Meghann riled, I think it’s the charging without permission and for no real reason other than the restaurant’s laziness. What about when a restaurant doesn’t feel like giving singles as change, so it starts rounding up to the nearest five? That’s a worst case of course, but something to think about.

  13. kidgenius says:

    Magister,

    It actually isn’t the same. You tip based on pre-tax amount. If you had a bill for ten bucks, and get a 7% tax plus a 15% tip (in that order), then it would only be $12.20. But, if your tip is taxed as well, your bill is $12.30.

  14. MeOhMy says:

    As others have said, if they honestly wanted to eliminate the hassle of pennies, they’d round in the customer’s favor. They are obviously on the take.

    It’s also amusing that the prices are all round numbers – they added the 2 cents to round out the TAX! I’ll take bets on whether or not they report that extra 2 cents to the tax bureaus.

    It’s not a lot of money per transaction, but over time they could be scamming a decent chunk of change.

  15. MeOhMy says:

    PS: “Nickel” :-p

  16. methane says:

    Slippery slope anyone? Soon it’s round up to the nearest quarter. The restaurant isn’t all that savvy with this. They could easily create prices that would round out to something nice when tax is included.
    As for Tipping. I like how in Germany, the waitstaff look at you bug-eyed if you leave a tip. They’re paid a fair wage to wait tables, and are tipped very minimally or not at all. It would be nice to see american restaurants adopting similar strategies.

  17. Juancho says:

    You had to have seen Office Space? They had that plan to pick up a half penny here or whatever and it just took off? I believe that was based on a real scam.

  18. robdew says:

    Why doesn’t the restaurant just round all their prices up to the nearest nickel including tax and get rid of the “rounding” on the reciept?

  19. dantsea says:

    Yeah, it’s only two cents from the customer. Now let’s look at it from being two cents from every customer. For the sake of this post, let’s say they serve ten customers an hour during a 12-hour day and round up 2 cents on every ticket. That’s 20 cents an hour, $2.40 a day, 16.80 a week, 873.60 a year. This is just a conservative demonstration for the sake of an argument, their actual traffic patterns are probably higher and therefore, the take would be higher as well.

    You wanna contribute a few cents toward a few thousand dollars extra some restaurant operator gets? Great. Since you don’t mind there, I’m sure you won’t mind it if every other business does this to you every time you buy something. What’s that? Oh, right: It can add up for you, too!

    People get screwed by unethical businesses because they don’t pay attention (to things like receipts) and they don’t complain. If you see a business like Circles rounding up — even if its only a few cents — you are witnessing blatant fraud. Complain to the Attorney General of your state. They love chasing down consumer fraud like this, it’s easy (they gave you a freakin’ receipt!) and it gets them lots of good press coverage.

  20. LTS! says:

    First, this would obviously be illegal as they posted the prices of their food elsewhere. You can’t just throw on a surcharge.

    Second, screw the waitstaff. That’s like telling me not to be mad at telemarketers because they only work for the company who decides to call me. The wait staff can choose another place that has higher scruples. If they choose to continue to work there then they are accepting the practices of their employers and deserve to be treated as extensions of the company they represent.

    First they came for the pennies, and I said nothing…

  21. vinyldman says:

    A little late, but I have a micros e7 restaurant system, probably the same one that the restaurant in question uses, based on the check printout. Here are some facts:

    1. There is no ‘truncate’ feature for change. It’s either round to at least the nearest 5 cents or deal with pennies.
    2. The rounding feature rounds up or down, at most .2 cents
    3. My rounding total for 3 days of using the feature and several thousand in sales is -21 cents. Meaning, I have lost 21 cents since I started rounding.
    4. I turned on the feature to shorten the amount of time it would take to make change, to make the experience better for the customer, not to be greedy.