When providing better customer service costs you a little extra, it’s normal to charge customers extra for it. But should you let them know you’re doing it? That’s the question raised by a 24-hour Waffle House in downtown Atlanta, which has added a 20 percent surcharge to its customers’ checks to pay for security guards.
According to a Waffle House spokesperson, the guards are needed in the restaurant’s high-crime area, where few other locations are open all night. Waffle House isn’t hiding the fees: Notices on the front door, tabletops and the diners’ checks alert customers about a “20 percent property management surcharge.”
While it appears a security guard is a wise investment in customer service at this location, I question the way the charge is being handled. “Property management surcharge” is so vague, it serves only to possibly enrage customers. I’d suggest Waffle House either wrap the costs into its prices or, if it wants to be transparent, promote the added security in ways that don’t scare customers off. With customers most likely aware of the area’s reputation, promoting the fact that Waffle House cares enough to provide a secure environment for diners to enjoy themselves could actually be a selling point. How would you handle it?