Photo: Marco_Piunti (Getty Images) | Graphic: Nicole Antonuccio

Dear Salty Waitress,

There’s a brewery nearby that has great food. I’m a non-drinker, but I still like going there for the excellent menu. On Mondays, they have a half-price burger special. I love their burgers and go in occasionally for the special. I always tip well when I get the special, $5 on an $8 bill.

I know the burger deal is supposed to be a loss-leader to get people in the door so they’ll spend money on the beer. Recently, as I was sitting at the bar eating, another diner suggested I’m taking advantage of the special because I don’t drink or order anything else. Is this true, am I abusing the system?

Thanks,
Burger, No Beer

Dear BnB,

A good burger, like a good man, is hard to find in this world. Sure, burgers and men are everywhere, but when you start talking quality, the field really narrows. (Both can be overly greasy or make you sick to your stomach the next day.)

I get it. Once you find a great burger, you don’t want to let it go. And there’s no reason to! A restaurant might price a special a certain way to get people in the door, you’re right; but the advertised price is all you’re obligated to pay. Don’t make yourself feel guilty for not ordering a beer. If the brewpub wanted to, they could price it as a combo special: Beer + Burger for $10, or whatever. They’re offering it à la carte though, because Mondays are typically slow nights for restaurants and they’re just happy to get customers in the door, period.

Plus, you’re still a regular at this brewpub—and a good tipper no less—which more than makes up for the $4 pint you didn’t order. If you really want to make yourself feel less guilty, order a dessert. Or a side of fried pickles. Or a beverage option that isn’t water (or beer). Or you could bring a friend with you the next time you go, and then you’re essentially doubling your impact on the restaurant’s bottom line. Or maybe the brewery has a comfy shirt for sale that you could buy and sport around town. But really, your decision not to order a pint isn’t making or breaking the business. If another customer tries to tell you different, tell them Salty has your back.


Got a question about dining out etiquette? Or are you a server/bartender with a horror story the world needs to hear? Email us: salty@thetakeout.com.

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