Some of the Luby’s Cafeterias in Houston TX expect you to pay for your food before you sit down to eat it. The Grind Burger and Booze joint in Glenwood Springs Colorado has the same anti ticket hopping (“theft of service” as Maureen O’Connor of Gawker describes a not paying your bill trend in The Big Apple) policy.
A sign near the entrance of scarfing establishment that once housed Rib City (address 208 7th Street), informed patrons to place order at front with Juan, pay, and then be seated to await your grass-fed hamburger. This pay before consuming your food idea certainly must exist only to combat the high number of lowlifes who walk out of restaurants without paying for their food,beverage, and alcohol. I guess owners must feel the loss in Tip income is more than offset by not having to pay larger wait staff.
I have no problem with this policy and would likely do the same thing if I were a restaurateur, BUT I do have a problem with them asking you sign a ticket with a Tip entry line when no service has been rendered. The Tip line should be removed for eateries with pay before you ingest sustenance policies. In fact, it is not unlike begging to expect to be tipped without supporting a full service wait staff.
That being said, the food, service, and atmosphere was exceptional and we will go back next time we are in town. BTW, we were there when a guy and his obnoxious wife raised a big stink about an order they claimed was botched. She told waiter that she had ordered a lamb patty salad and raised all kinds of hell with manager when it came out with beef paddy.
She was already pissed because they had not been seated in an area they preferred, so husband just said they were going to split without paying due to the hassle and inconvenience. Don’t know all the details, but there was big commotion with everybody watching and I think management acquiesced without making them pay.