By Mark A. Leon
Have you been to Normandy Farms Artisan Bakery, Jack of Cups or Baguette Magic recently? Besides having wonderful reputations for quality and customer service, all three businesses have incorporated the European style of fixed pricing. This method also rings true at local area farmers markets with most vendors.
In a nutshell, the price you see on the menu, is the price you pay.
If an item is 91 cents and sales tax is 9 cents, the cost is $1.00. That is the price you see.
Last week, I had a memorable meal at Jack of Cups on Folly Beach. Our meal for two consisted of: Spring Rolls $9.00, Indian Thai Mexican Fusion Nachos $9.00, Basil Rice Bowl $10.00, Cocktails $9.00 each (2) and glass of wine $4.00. Our bill was $50.00.
Why is this method of building in the tax to the final cost so efficient for all parties involved?
- Perception: If there is no tax found on the bill, it creates a perception to the consumer that they got a deal and are apt to tip their servers more.
- Ease of table sharing management. How many go out with friends or co-workers and they split the bill. This makes it so much easier to determine who owes what.
- Tight Budgets: If you are on a tight budget and trying to determine cost of a meal, this solves all your issues.
- Even number obsessives: There are a few of you out there that needs all charges on your credit card to end in a complete number (no cents). This makes your lives so much easier.
- An overall simple dining experience
I initially got comfortable with this form of pricing when I lived in Florence, Italy. Not being able to speak the native tongue, made it a challenge for me to go to the grocer or farmers market, but having the fixed pricing helped me know exactly how many Euros my items were and thus eliminating the awkward language barrier.
That saved me during my Summer in Italy and I am so thankful.
We hope this trend continues with more restaurants in the Lowcountry and spreads even further to grocers and retail stores.