You’d Think Water Was Free…But It Isn’t

Being a restaurant owner is tough. I read in today’s Boston Herald about a good intentioned chef owner of a high-end Italian place in Braintree who got punished by his customers for trying to recoup some of the costs of providing glasses of water to diners.

Joe Viola figured out the cost of the lemon, the ice, washing the glass and the straw and realized that it really does cost him for each glass. But the customers wouldn’t budge. One savvy waitress, who by habit tallies up her bill line by line, noticed the $2.00 charge on the bill for the water. Her husband thought they had made a mistake. There was no explaining it to her, she was mad and hasn’t been back to Joe’s restaurant since.

You’d think that customers would understand…but they just don’t come back. We offer our customers water at the cafe, and there is no way we’re gonna try to charge for it. Maybe our solution is better: lose the lemon and the straw and let them get it for themselves out of the Poland Spring cooler and use the tiny plastic cups.