Restaurant charges for water to help conserve

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DEL MAR, Calif. -- There is something different on the menu at Crêpes & Corks in Del Mar: a notice that customers who ask for a glass of water will be charged 50 cents.

“I understand it because we do have to conserve. It doesn’t bother me," said Gary Brinton, a customer.

Owner Nico Becucci said his water policy is meant to get customers to think about conservation as the state grapples with a historic drought and new water restrictions.

“It's letting people realize we’re really in a bad situation here in California. It’s not helping me at all – 50 cents is not even paying for my water bill," said Becucci.

Becucci said his policy is getting mostly favorable reviews, but not everyone likes the idea of paying for something that's still free in most places.

“I still don’t think you should be charged for water at a restaurant. I think they can restrict, not necessarily bring it to the table – but if you ask, you should be provided water at no charge," said Shannon Habib, a customer.

According to Becucci, because of the charge, customers are wasting less.

“They actually drink the water – they’re not just ordering the water and leaving it on the table. As soon as they realize they’re charged for it, they’re like, ‘I might as well drink it,'” said Becucci.

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8 comments

  • David Green

    I will not be going to restaurant any longer, Charging for water. When I order water I drink it. I am diabetic and i can not drink soda nor beer or wine etc. So I drink water and they are want to charge me for tap water. I hope other do as I do and boycott them and let me go out of business. There are other ways to save water. Only serve it to people who request it. Look into water use in the restrooms. waterless urinals, low flow sinks etc. and water waste in the kitchen.

    • Fred

      If you order it, why do you think it should be free? Water is not free to the restaurant, nor is the cup, nor is the server’s time, nor the dishwasher. Do you ask for ice or lemon? If so, you are kind of a free loader. Because you have diabetes you think the restaurant should give you something free? It is no wonder small restaurants are shutting down. I bet you use a coupon and ask for extra dressing as well.

      • David Green

        Fred you seem very hostile. Water has always been free in restaurants when you are a customer. They are making money on the food that you ordered. You can go into a fast food place and they will give you a cup for water. If restaurant can not make enough money to pay his water bill then he should go out of business.
        Would go into a restaurant and would you stand still because he wants to put a surcharge to cover the cost of his business insurance or electric bill? All these cost are normally factor in to the price of the food plus a profit.
        To charge for water is just plain GREED and this just an excuse to blame it on the water shortage. If you want to pay his water bill you can do it I am sure he would be kind and maybe even say thank you. But not I . I will eat elsewhere like many other people will.

        • James

          Yes. It’s definitely greed. They do the same at hotels, suggesting sleeping on dirty sheets and taking time to try to reuse your towels. They spend less money on the linens and on the price of the cleaning crew. They try to shame you into accepting it mentioning the environment or water conservation. But they offer no discount if you opt to sleep on dirty sheets and reuse towels on your vacation.

          I don’t eat out much because I usually leave unsatisfied, even when the meal is somewhat expensive. But when I do I’ll make sure to boycott restaurants that charge for water.

  • Abby

    Outside the US, most restaurants charge for water – it is not free. If you ask for a glass, they will bring you a bottle. If you ask for tap water, you get luke-warm water with no ice – if you remember to ask for ice, its usually one or two pieces that melt before you take the first drink.

    • James

      This is the US we do things different. I’ve heard they don’t tip in other countries such as France and China. I’d be glad to give up free water for no tip.

  • Paul

    The restaurant should have a BYOW provision if that’s the case. The old policy of water on request is a hospitable approach to the crisis.

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