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January 23, 2006



I am sure it was a tight race. You'll get it next time. I'm happy that I discovered 'ideas in food' through this competition from a comment on your blog, that is some crazy ( in a good way ) food up there in Colorado.


BTW, I have a question. I went to dosa in SF in December, and in their POS, they put my total ($40) as my tip. My bill was $33, so I ended up paying $73, instead of $40. How would you handle this?

The way they handled it was pretty unapologetic ("we're sorry, but it was an honest mistake") and very minimal ("we can issue a refund of $33 if you wish"). Well, duh. I caricature, but it is basically the gist of it.

The owner used to be in technology, so I guess he has no hospitality experience. What would be the proper answer?



My response to the Dosa situation might not seem helpful either. Unfortunately there isn't a one size fits all approach to handling this.

My starting point is always, "How would you like me to handle this?" If the person is a regular customer they might just want it applied to their next visit.

Another person might want their card refunded, which would require them to give credit card information over the phone but after being overcharged they are reluctant to share that and so perhaps they have a check mailed to them.

Essentially we acknowledge we made a mistake and see how the customer would like their refund. Depending on the situation we may also send a certificate for a free appetizer or dessert on their next visit for their inconvenience.

On a related subject, it is becoming increasingly frequent for people to obsessively check their credit card accounts on-line and then call us to know why we "overcharged them". Credit card processors authorize a restaurant sale for more than the original sale because they know some people will also be leaving a tip on the card and if the person is at their credit limit the tip will be declined if they don't get prior authorization. So, if you go out to dinner Friday night and your meal comes to $56 your card may be originally charged for say $67.20 (20% above the purchase). Later when your waiter cashes out he or she will add the tip if you left one. The credit card processor may not make the correction until their next business day (Monday). Meanwhile you go home and for whatever reason, check your account. Your friend left a tip in cash, so you didn't leave one on your card and the next day you call the restaurant to find out why you're being overcharged.

I understand this isn't what happened at Dosa, your question just jostled the mind in that difrection.


I don't know what's the right way of handling this, but the situation at dosa left a bitter taste. They processed the refund based on the initial receipt and transaction #, so no need to give them any credit card information beyond what they had already. What surprised me is that they did not make any attempt to 'make up' for the situation. After all, if I did not check my (paper) statement carefully, they'd still be up $40, and I had to go out of my way to correct it. There might be no 'rule' to correct the situation, but this really surprised me. The restaurant which treated me better in similar situation (ie. more than what is the legal requirement of returning my money to me) I go back to, I don't have hard feelings for the mistake. Here I do.


Haddock! Thank you so much! It was a very tight race and we should all feel happy to have made it so far!

The letters above prove how much of an asset you are in the food blogging community but also for all humans who eat out but only work as diners!

Thank you for being brave and bold and wearing pointy clothing. Glad to ride alongside you, eh.


im preparing dosa for the first time, and i ended up it with bitter taste dont know how to correct this any suggestions please mail me


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