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‘Cakeage’: are London restaurants ripping us off?

Posted at 5:15 pm, February 26, 2015 in Food & Drink
cake © Alex Plim

© Alex Plim

The issue of ‘cakeage’ has been in the news recently, with The Sunday Times, The Telegraph and The Daily Mail stoking outrage at restaurants’ corkage-style charges for diners wishing to bring their own celebratory cake to round off a special meal. Crumbs.

Cakeage fees are at the discretion of the venue, with £1.50 per head charged at Bodean’s, rising to £9 per head at Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill, and everything in between. Some venues waive the fee if dessert is ordered; many restaurants, from chains to high-end venues such as Claridge’s bar, still don’t charge at all.

It’s a tricky issue: on the one hand, diners are forking out a sizeable per-head spend by frequenting any restaurant in the first place, and they can choose to take their money elsewhere; venues wanting to capitalise on their celebration can come across as greedy party poopers. On the other hand, a homemade cake causes restaurants to lose potential revenue in various ways: customers might choose cake over dessert; staff time is required to serve the cake and wash up afterwards; and while all that is happening, the table can’t be given to other diners – paying ones.

Which side of the argument do you fall on? Is there an etiquette that should be observed when it comes to cakeage? And how much is too much to pay for the privilege of having your cake and eating it?

Did someone say ‘cake’? Here are London’s best.

By Nicola Arencibia

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