Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Hour

Yesterday was the hubs birthday and his grandparents gave him a $25 gift card for a local restaurant. Typically hubby and I can eat well splitting a large appetizer and having a drink each which was our plan tonight. I had gone to the website to look at their menu and discovered no prices listed online. No matter, Happy Hour appetizers and drinks are usually reasonable and we figured before tip we could eat for about $12.

When we entered the restaurant we told the gals at the desk we were going to sit in the bar. They asked if we wanted a booth and we said sure. We sat in the booth and ordered our appetizer platter and two Guinness from the Happy Hour menu. They serve complimentary bread so that was plenty of food for us. When our tab came we had been charged full price for everything. The waitress clarified that because we were sitting in a booth the Happy Hour prices did not apply.

There is no mention of that on their menu in the restaurant or online. In fact, I could see no mention of Happy Hour online. Just a reference for food and drink specials for football game nights. Maybe we are not savvy restaurant frequenters but we didn't realize that because we were offered a booth we were essentially "upsold".

When we explained this the the waitress she was very gracious and went and changed our bill. We still have enough left on the gift card to go back again and probably will but sit at the high tables - not in a booth.

What is so irritating about this is how cheap I felt and how little information patrons have to go on in making a decision on what they decide to dine on or drink. Prices not being posted for beer and mixed drinks. Not even basic prices posted with a caveat that if you order top shelf alcohol it would of course increase your drink expense.

Have any of you out there ever experienced this?


small town city girl said...

Wow! Where did you go? I've never heard of that either. I think I would write them a nice letter letting them know that you didn't appreciate the "secrecy" of their tactics.

Glad they fixed your tab though.

FruGal said...

I really hate it when stuff like that happens, because you're right, it makes you feel cheap, which isn't fair when you think you're in the right.

A few days ago I was in a little boutique looking through the clothing and the owner came up and said that 'everything' was £25 despite the price tags as they were having a sale, even though there were no signs up about a sale. So you can imagine my surprise when I got to the till and he rang up the dress I wanted as £95. When I questioned it he said that he only meant everything on the rack I was looking at. I felt like a fool and was embarrassed to say that I would have to leave the dress this time, and shuffled out with a red face... I hate it when stuff like that happens!! (The only good thing is that a year ago I would have handed over my credit card and paid £95 in order to avoid the embarrassment... at least I've learned to stop doing that sort of thing!)

mrsb said...

Ugh. I'd have been mad, especially when you were going to sit at the bar in the first place. At the point that they offered you a booth, they should have let you know that the "special" wouldn't apply there. Just a little shady to me.

Glad they fixed your tab, though. (I wonder how many people they got over in a booth who didn't have the guts to complain?)

Anonymous said...

I have never heard of being charged for where you sit. Glad you got it worked out. I'm usually a chalk it up to experience and never return so I wouldn't have said a thing.

I really need to learn to stand up for myself.

Escape Brooklyn said...

That happened to me at a Mexican restaurant in Philly! One side of the restaurant has sit down tables, the other side has a bar. On the sit down table side there's even a large sign on the wall advertising happy hour specials -- with no mention of having to sit at the bar to get them!

My waiter wouldn't adjust the bill, even though the sign is totally misleading. But we like the restaurant anyway so when we've gone back, we just make sure to sit on the bar side.

Clean ClutterFree Simple said...

That's actually the usual deal with happy hour, you get those prices in the bar. Still, in this case, the hostess should have mentioned something. Glad she gave you the HH pricing, that's good customer service.

Restaurant websites often don't include prices so they don't have to update them as often. Plus, specials and happy hours change frequently, so again, same reason.

I love happy hour for date night. It allows us to eat at nicer places for less. And, personally, if I'm out on a date and sans kids, I prefer to sit in the bar!

MoneyMateKate said...

Those two-fer appetizers are the only reason I've ever been to a happy hour. I came very close to making the booth v. bar mistake - got up and moved, even though it annoyed the waitress, who watched her section shrink by two customers because of the rules.