Restaurants in the Hudson Valley are instituting a mind-boggling policy that is making customers scratch their heads wondering what they were thinking.

It hasn't been an easy go for many local businesses over the past few years. Between supply chain issues, inflation, and a global pandemic, restaurants have had to bear the brunt of the economic slowdown. It's no surprise that these local business owners have had to make some tough decisions to stay afloat, but one policy that's been adopted by some local restaurants is coming off as insulting

Those who've recently dined out have probably noticed that service has been lacking, prices are high and lots of "extras" are now missing. Many restaurants are doing a great job of shielding diners from these pain points and customers like myself have been very understanding when they're confronted with slow service, higher prices and other understandable issues. That's just the reality right now and there's not much anyone can do about it.

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So, while we're all doing our best to give restaurants extra slack and continue to support these local businesses, it's kind of mind-boggling that some of them would insult diners with an unnecessary fee at the end of the meal.

On Saturday I went out to dinner and had an amazing time. I even remarked to my wife while enjoying dessert that we have to make a point of coming back to this place again when relatives are in town. The wonderful feeling I had about my dining experience, however, began to melt away when I read a passive-aggressive message on my bill. It said:


A. Boris
A. Boris

Now let me be very clear. The fact that this business is charging more in order to cover its costs does not bother me at all. This is how business works and I would never expect any restaurant to lose money just to keep me happy. What bothers me is the WAY this fee is being collected.

I don't know anyone who goes out to a fancy dinner and pays in cash. Credit cards are the payment of choice for over 90% of diners. Yes, we all know that credit card companies charge a fee for processing, but that's the cost of doing business and should be factored into the price of the meal.

If I was charged an extra dollar for an entree, an extra 50 cents for dessert or even five bucks added on to our round of drinks I wouldn't have batted an eye. But being handed a bill with a tacky 3.5% credit card fee struck me as pathetic. I mean, on my $100 bill it's just $3.50. Any good business owner should be able to figure out a way to make that up in their pricing.

I began to wonder if restaurants will soon charge customers who get up to use the bathroom. I mean, toilet paper, soap and plumbing have all gone up in price too. Why not itemize those fees as well? How about charging for to-go containers, or a 25-cent fee for asking for extra ketchup? If that sounds silly, that's because it is. When costs go up, the price of your bill is supposed to go up or you find ways to cut costs. You don't start itemizing extra charges for your customers. Honestly, I wonder if anyone at these restaurants has ever taken a marketing class at all.

I hope instead of sending me long-winded explanations about how burdensome credit card fees are, local restaurants will simply take my suggestion to heart and realize that they're just not being smart by appearing to nickel and dime customers. I had an amazing meal and an incredible experience that was soured by that nasty little note in my bill. Go ahead and charge me an extra $3.50, I have no problem with that. But I don't need to read all about your accounting woes after dropping $32 on a bowl of pasta.

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