Friday 7 April 2023

New post-pandemic dining restrictions in some cities charge customers hundreds of dollars just to get seated at a table

 A lot has changed ever since the Wuhan coronavirus (Covid-19) was forced on the world, including in the food service industry.

Some restaurants in major cities like Chicago have begun imposing minimum purchase requirements on their patrons, or charging cancelation fees for reservations.

Mandatory minimums are gradually becoming the norm in some areas, especially at higher-end restaurants. Steak 48, a steakhouse in Chicago, now starts the bill with a $100 charge per person. If a customer or table orders less than $100 worth of food per person, they get charged the full amount regardless.

“It’s a shame,” said Howard Tolsky, a Chicago-area resident who went to book a dinner online at Steak 48 for himself, his wife, and his mother-in-law, only to notice the new charge, which deterred him from making a reservation.

“I figured, well, we’re not going to spend $300. We might spend $250. But I don’t want to spend $300 on a meal that costs $250.”


Restaurants charging extra because of “covid” will only hurt their bottom line even more as people will just stay home to eat instead

Cancellation insurance policies are another thing some restaurants are implementing as a way to ensure they get paid, even when diners decide not to show up for their reservations.

Maple & Ash, another Chicago restaurant, charges restaurant-goers a non-refundable $100 per person deposit if a party fails to show.

“Maybe it’s just me, but that sort of policy would probably make me less likely to make a reservation and either take my chances by showing up without one or simply going to a less popular place to eat,” writes Jazz Shaw for Hot Air.

For now, the dining public can still vote with their wallets. However, if the trend catches on, there could come a time when all these extra charges and fees become the norm.

The claim is that this is all necessary to make up for the economic damage caused by covid. Okay, but covid has been over for a while now, and yet many covid policies remain in place.

Take Costco, for instance. The food court used to offer fresh onions and sauerkraut for your hot dog, as well as some additional menu items that have never returned. Now it is just ketchup, mustard, and maybe some napkins if you are lucky.

“During the government-mandated shutdowns and partial reopenings, I could understand it,” Shaw adds about the covid changes, many of which have remained long after covid ended.

“It’s a very competitive industry and when you can’t fill all of your tables and don’t know how many workers will show up on any given day, you need some sort of security. But if we’re returning to ‘normal’ now, this seems like an odd and likely unpopular policy to make permanent.”

If this really is the “new normal,” it is not a stretch to say that the restaurant industry is in for a whole lot more pain as the average person, struggling just to make ends meet, decides to stay home rather than go out for a night on the town.

“I don’t think it’s going to go over very well,” Shaw says. “But the free market should handle this issue as well. If the restaurants not having such policies in place have lines of customers forming around the block and the ones charging these fees are sitting mostly empty, the problem will correct itself soon enough.”

No comments:

Post a Comment