Restaurant Shop Question...

I love doing restaurant shops and sign up for them quite often. I've had a few recently where the report asks if my receipt is accurate? My server left off the two non-alcoholic beverages which I've found to be a fairly common practice over the years. Obviously, the receipt isn't accurate and should be reported as such, but I wonder if the server gets dinged after the report for leaving the couple beverages off?

As a normal customer, I love it when my server offers a little gesture like this during a meal and I reward them with a nicer tip, but, I'm just wondering how the restaurant management feels about this practice and if the server will be punished in some way for doing this? The last two times out this has happened and both servers were exceptional in all regards, I hate to have to report this, but it is my job...

Thoughts???

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."

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Yes, it is your job and the receipt does not reflect your order, it needs to be reported. I have seen non-alcoholic beverages omitted only when I also purchased alcohol and in places where the server was pretty actively soliciting a tip. I don't care for either practice. If the receipt clearly shows the item and that it is comped, I'm good with it because evidently the server has the authorization to do such. Otherwise I am a party to the server's theft from the employer.
Considering that it is a form of theft, they probably do get dinged on it.

It's your place as a shopper to accurately and impartially report the facts of your visit. Yes, it sucks to have things like this happen when the employee seems to do a good job otherwise, but this sort of thing is why we're paid to do what we do.
A few years back there were actually shops where we were checking for server omission of beverage, but not so much in terms of theft but in terms of not responding to a situation. We were to place our order with just water as the beverage. Once the food was delivered we were to 'change my mind' and order coffee. The question was whether the server remembered to go back to the touch pad and add the beverage. If I recall correctly that was a reveal shop with a prize at the end if the receipt showed the added on beverage, but it has been a long time.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/26/2015 06:21PM by Flash.
If you have ever done the bar compliance quiz for Bare, the video is pretty good puts things in perspective, it tells you that one or two drinks a night over the course of the year really adds up for the client and so if you think on that train of thought you won't feel too bad reporting it b/c that's our job to report the discrepancies. Many bar staff do that to get higher tips, which goes to his/her bottom line but not the client's.
It is theft if the employee does not add them to the bill. The restaurant is the one who purchases the pop etc. Giving it away free is theft. Giving the server a bigger tip does not pay for the pop.
@msimon-2000 wrote:

I love doing restaurant shops and sign up for them quite often. I've had a few recently where the report asks if my receipt is accurate? My server left off the two non-alcoholic beverages which I've found to be a fairly common practice over the years. Obviously, the receipt isn't accurate and should be reported as such, but I wonder if the server gets dinged after the report for leaving the couple beverages off?

As a normal customer, I love it when my server offers a little gesture like this during a meal and I reward them with a nicer tip, but, I'm just wondering how the restaurant management feels about this practice and if the server will be punished in some way for doing this? The last two times out this has happened and both servers were exceptional in all regards, I hate to have to report this, but it is my job...

Thoughts???

As someone else stated, this is considered theft, especially if this was intentional. bartenders and servers do this with the thought that the customer would tip more because of this. This is wrong and NOT benefiting the client, but the worker and the customer instead....

It's like when your bartender over pours liquor, in hopes of keeping your business and fluffing up their tips. Again, this is stealing from the client.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 30 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.
You really have no way of knowing if what the server did was acceptable to the client or not. Just report the facts ma'am, nothing but the facts.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
I always bring it to their attention and 9 times out of 10, the server will say not to worry about it. When it first started happening, I was afraid I would be dinged or doubted so I even would take a photo of the drink to prove that I did indeed order the required beverage. Once in awhile I get a serve who thinks they are doing me the favor of charging for my drink. Attitude and all, they state that they will charge me for it. I'm just trying to help them out. Excuse me for doing the right thing!

Doing what I can to enhance the life of my family! I LOVE what I do smiling smiley
I always report what happens and try to remain as impartial as is humanly possible. Having never managed in the restaurant biz, I just wondered if this was something that was a serious no-no for the server or if it is more of a look the other way by most managers... I have no crystal ball either to know if the server did this intentionally with the hopes of a larger tip or simply made a mistake in entering the order on the computer. If I had to guess, I would lean towards the former, but mistakes can and do happen.

I get that it can be considered theft of product, but playing devil's advocate here, so is charging $4.95 for a soda that costs the restaurant pennies in product...lol! That would be considered an excessive profit margin in many industries. 10 to 20% profit margins are fairly normal. The profit margins on soda's are in the 1000% range probably.

Freebies are prevalent in many industries. How many people have 'negotiated' for free car mats when buying a new car? I'm sure if I thought about it long enough, I could come up with many examples of add-ons or outright freebies.

As I said before, I get paid to report what happens with impartiality and objectivity and pride myself on doing just that.

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."
I don't think your analogy works. When I 'negotiate' for extras to purchase my car they still need manager approval and show up on my bill of sale. I was not willing to buy the car for $X but the car with the floor mats and the wood knob on the shift and the cargo net makes me willing to pay $X. It isn't like the salesman snuck outside and hid them in my trunk.
Good point Flash...

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."
I did a lunch shop today and reported a $2.50 iced tea that was not on the receipt. I used my calculator and tipped exactly 18% of the pre tax total. The server short tipped them self as well as made me check a no box on a form that was graded on the yes and no questions. If they charged me for the drink, they would have gained an extra 45 cents on the tip. If it was intentional, it backfired on them. grinning smiley

To add insult to the injury, I asked for a to go iced tea as well. This is a favorite move of mine. It shows what kind of additude the server has. Within the same franchise, I have been given a small to go cup and sometimes a large cup. This is where they have leeway to make the tip better. If they drop me a 32 oz iced tea to go and include lemon, the tip may go up to 20% even if I am not fully reimbursed for it. It still goes in the report. Some companies may frown on giving out a 32 oz to go glass on a drink that was refilled 3x at the table to boost the tip at the end of service.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/28/2015 12:59AM by scanman1.
Yes, those big to go cups are great to swizzle while doing reports. And then another use -- rinse them out and keep the lid. They make a splendid container to keep your Ben & Jerry's solidly frozen between the store and home. Summertime grocery shops when B&J is on BOGO is just not a problem when each store limits you to 1 deal because the styro cups are good for an hour or more.
Yeah, just watch Mystery Diners, or not because it's just common sense anyway. Those freebies don't hurt the server; the food/drinks don't come out of their pocket and yet the diners are rewarding them for those freebies. The losers are the owners that pay for that stuff and get nothing for their output.
A lot of people complaining about this being theft are being a bit paranoid. In some locations, especially bars and high-end locations, staff are given a discretionary budget per day or week to make guests happy. If you either indicated you were unsatisfied with the meal (even if you didn't mention it to their face) or gave them a hint you were the shopper, they might have dipped into that budget to pay for your drinks.

You should report it of course, and let the management decide if it's theft or not. But jumping to conclusions and assuming it was some grand immoral act is a bit hasty.
Usually, though, that decision is made by the manager, not the server. You report your displeasure to a server who should get the manager and it is the manager who should be dipping into that till, not the server. This is my understanding from various sources and of course different places could have different rules, but in my experience as a consumer even, when I've complained, I've always been approached by the manager and they are the ones that have set it right. In a few cases, the server has stated they've talked to the manager and they said to comp this or do whatever.
I've found bars and bartenders are more likely to be empowered to do that without a manager than not, especially if they're hoping less for tips and more for return business.
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