Il Fornello charges for hot water
However, this time I went, I had a very different experience. It was a party of 3 where we ordered appetizers and main courses, no drinks except for 2 glasses of regular water, and 1 glass of hot water. When the bill came, I was very surprised to see a charge of $1.25 for hot water...(now before everyone goes off on a tangent here, yes, I DO realize that we are talking about only $1.25 and trust me, I have no issues with paying that and that's not the point of this thread). However, of all the restaurants I've been to in N. America, Asia, Europe, Australia, etc.. never have I been charged for hot water.
When I asked the waitress and restaurant manager about this charge, I was provided with a meaningless explanation of "it's our restaurant's policy to charge for hot water". I challenged their response some more by asking them to explain to me why a customer needs to pay for something that is FREE (hot water) and why then wasn't I charged for the other 2 glasses of cold water. Their response became even more incredulous. The restaurant manager said (verbatim) "Ma'am, we are in the business of making money. It costs me money to serve the hot water in a cup and saucer. We are also finding that patrons are bringing their own teabags, and therefore, we need to charge them for the hot water."
So I then asked whether this "restaurant policy" would still apply if I had asked him to serve the hot water in a glass instead of a cup/saucer. He shrugged his shoulders and continued to regurgitate the "it's restaurant policy" chant.
I could relate to his argument around people bringing in their own teabags and consequently having to charge them for the hot water to "make their tea". But in this case, the individual ordered hot water because they don't drink cold water (for health reasons). We never asked for the hot water to be served in a cup/saucer, nor do we care how it is served.
Again, I have no problems with paying the $1.25, which I did. I was just appalled by the blatant disregard for customer service, coupled with a rather feable justification of their restaurant policy to charge for hot water. This is awful restaurant practice, and very happy to see that it's not a widespread practice. Who knows, maybe they'll start charging customers for extra salad dressing or a slice of lemon soon.
I welcome everyone else's input, feedback, or similar experiences.