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10th Aug 2023

Tourist hit with shock restaurant fee — for cutting sandwich in half

Steve Hopkins

‘It took us time to cut it in two’

A tourist was left with a sour taste in his mouth after eating at an upscale restaurant in Italy – after being charged for slicing a sandwich in half.

The unnamed traveller was charged two euros (£1.73) for having his meal split at Bar Pace in Gera Lario, at the northern end of Lake Como.

The visitor, from Milan, ordered a meatless sandwich with french fries stuff inside, which he split with a friend.

In a negative review on TripAdvisor, the disgruntled diner explained that he hadn’t even asked for the sandwich to be sliced.

“Unbelievable but true,” the man captioned a photo of the receipt on the review website.

The receipt lists the sandwich for €7.50, Coca-Cola for €3.50, water for €1.50 and espresso for €1.20, along with the debated “diviso da meta”, or “cutting in half” fee, amounting to €2 euros.

The customer gave the restaurant a one-star review.

It has an average of four and a half stars, based on over 100 reviews.

The restaurant’s owner, Cristina Biacchi, defended the fee telling the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica: “Additional requests have a cost.”

“We had to use two plates instead of one and the time to wash them is doubled, and then two placemats. It wasn’t a simple toasted sandwich, there were also French fries inside. It took us time to cut it in two.

Biacchi also noted to the publication that the customer did not complain or question the surcharge at the time.

New York Post noted the practice is not unheard of in expensive cities and popular tourist destinations in the US, where frugal eaters (and those with small appetites) are sometimes hit with a share charge, or a split plate charge, to make up for their lower than average table bill.

Some NYC eateries even ban the practice of sharing, the Post noted.

Since the sandwich splitting story went viral, TripAdvisor has been forced to pause reviews for Bar Pace, which has come under attack.

The website stated: “Due to a recent event that has attracted media attention and has caused an influx of review submissions that do not describe a first-hand experience, we have temporarily suspended publishing new reviews for this listing.”

Related links:

Restaurant takes legal action against diner over $3,000 waitress tip

Tourist left furious after being charged £450 for two drinks and a squid

Woman furious about paying £8 for fish and chips

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