Anyone who’s worked as a waiter, bartender or as a food and beverage server of any sort knows that it’s a tough gig. The long hours, the late nights, the sore muscles, the puny tips – there are very few upsides. Which is why we weren’t the least bit surprised when the New York Post reported that in addition to being overworked and underpaid, America’s waiters are also chronic liars.
Specifically, when customers ask for a waiter’s recommendation between two dishes, the waiter will almost always suggest the more expensive option. Other dirty tricks, according to the Post, include “intentionally omitting the prices of specials, aggressive wine pouring, bringing bottles of water unbidden, encouraging you to order more food than you need and pushing drinks with dinner.”
The article also mentioned a few tricks used by menu designers to dupe diners, such as adding high-priced “decoy” items to make other meals look more affordable.
None of this is especially shocking, but we’re curious about how widespread the practice of waiters giving price-biased recommendations really is, so we’re going to perform some informal tests over the next several weeks based on our personal dining experiences. We’ll ask waiters to recommend one of two clearly differently priced menu options to see which one they propose. Stay tuned for the results.