Picture it: you're out for a nice dinner with your friends and family members and it's a special occasion. Maybe it's someone's birthday, graduation, divorce, or whatever. So you bring a cake to the restaurant and ask the wait staff if they could keep it in a fridge while you place your drink and meal orders.
Since a good food service business prides itself on hospitality and customer satisfaction, they'll often acquiesce to this request. One, because you always want your customers to leave your establishment with a smile on their faces, and servers themselves probably know a gathering of friends is probably going to result in a better gratuity for them at the end of the night if they go out of their way to make their guests happy.
So you hand your cake over to the server and they ask you when it's time for dessert if you would like for them to cut the cake for you before bringing it out. "Oh my God that would be great thank you!" you say, as the server smiles and nods and walks away with the cake.
You have yourself a nice meal and when you get the check, you notice a strange charge on it for a $25 item you didn't remember ordering.
Then you realize that the server wasn't being nice: they were charging you for cutting the cake.
That's what a TikToker by the name of Gigi (@vivala_blondiiie) said happened at a dinner during a night out. Judging from the receipt it didn't look like she was dining with a large party (unless they got separate checks). She ordered two insalada pizzas, what appears to be two different beverages, and one "Cake Cut."
In a text overlay for the now-viral TikTok, Gigi writes, "When the server asks if we want the cake WE brought cut, thinking she's doing something nice for us.. But it was 25 dollars." In a caption for the TikTok she penned, "I didn't know this was a thing?!?"
The idea of a "cake cutting fee" has been around for quite some time, and the concept of restaurants charging folks to bring in outside food and drink into their establishment is one that isn't exactly old either.
For example, if you've been to a BYOB eatery, you may have been informed of an "uncorking" or "bottle opening" fee. The same applies to cutting cake. If a restaurant offers its own desserts for customers, they're probably fine with the idea of you bringing your own cake to enjoy in their restaurant, but they're going to charge you for that.
The New York Times penned a 2016 article about "cakeage" which explained the phenomenon of restaurants attempting to make back some of the money they probably thought that they lost of patrons who elected to bring their own cake into a restaurant instead of ordering off their menu.
The piece highlighted an Instagram account of Neal McCarthy, who owned Miller Union, an Atlanta restaurant. Neal's social media channel was dedicated entirely to the "world's most hideous cakes" that customers brought into Neal's self-proclaimed "nice restaurant."
Neal used the account to ridicule the cakes customers would dare bring into his restaurant which has a 4.5 star rating out of 1,064 reviews on Google as of this writing. According to the article he also charges a "cakeage" fee.
What do you think about a cake cutting fee? Is it to be expected because customers are ultimately bringing their own food into a restaurant, which can feel like a slap in the face to some people?