Not living in Canada, my siblings visited Casa Victoria restaurant (紫爵金宴) in Toronto for lunch. Everything went swimmingly until they saw this on their bill:
SAUCE 芥 6.00
They were never notified of this charge, not written anywhere on the menus or dim sum sheet. They never requested any sauces. So they requested a manager, and a man in a business suit came. They don't speak a word of Chinese, and this dialogue followed:
Manager: This is for table covers, sauces, preparation.
Siblings: Why would we be charged for these? They're standard in any restaurant.
Manager: This is standard policy. It's in many restaurants. Have you never been to Chinese restaurants?
Siblings: Can we have your name please?
Manager: Sorry. I'm not allowed to give names.
Siblings: It's not fair to charge us for something that was never agreed. Will you please waive and remove this charge?
Manager: Sorry. I cannot. This is policy.
Siblings: Sorry. We don't like hidden charges. They're very unfair. Is there anything you can do to help?
Manager: Sorry. No. This is owner's policy.
Siblings: Is there someone else who can help with this?
Manager: I'm the only manager. Anyway, you have to pay it. If you don't, I report you.
Weary and frightened by this threat, my siblings paid the bill, but without the standard tip of 15%.
I base the titled question on ethics, not money, as suing for $6 CAD is obviously senseless.
"chinese restaurant" invoice "cover charge" yields other restaurants that charge this. Legend Chinese Restaurant in Thornhill, ON:
Miss Ene explains how these charges stunned her:
Anyhoo, the point of this entry is not to rave about the food at Chin Lee. Instead, I would like to draw your attention to a little unknown cost. Well, it was pretty unknown to me until today.
Now, we all know that restaurants charge for the wet napkins and peanuts/pickles that the place on your table at the start of each meal. I don’t have a problem paying for it because I am sure it all adds to their operating costs. However, I was pretty appalled that we (4 pax) paid $10 (excluding 7% GST) for “cover charge” and 2 plates of “pickles”. They were steamed peanuts, by the way.